Just days before the announced launch of the Xbox One in China, Microsoft pushes back the console's release date to an unspecified date by the end of the year.
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it will start selling its flagship video game console in the Chinese market on Sept. 23 after the Chinese government lifted a 15-year ban of foreign game consoles made due to concerns over their effect on the education of children. However, Microsoft says it is delaying the Xbox One release with nary an explanation.
"Despite strong and steady progress, we are going to need a bit more time to deliver the best experiences possible for our fans in China," the company says in a statement. "At Xbox, we pride ourselves on delivering first-rate gaming and entertainment experiences, and to allow us to deliver on that promise, we need to reschedule the launch of the Xbox One."
This comes just one day after the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency published a report of a Microsoft official saying that the introduction of the Xbox One is "more efficient" than in any other country.
Despite the delay, Microsoft says it will continue to hold its Xbox One launch party on Sept. 22 at the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, where the company will be giving away 100 Xbox One units to be shipped when Microsoft starts selling the Xbox One in China. Attendees will also be given the chance to play games on the video game console.
Enwei Xie, general manager of Xbox and Studios at Microsoft China, stresses that buyers who pre-ordered the Xbox One ahead of Sept. 23 will still receive the first units when they start shipping later this year. He says they will also receive an unspecified "added bonus."
Microsoft has partnered with BesTV New Media, which will develop video game titles for the Xbox One in China and will be selling the consoles in a new free trade zone in Shanghai. The Windows maker says selling the Xbox One, which is currently trailing behind Sony's PlayStation 4 in terms of sales in the United States and many parts of the world, will open up new markets for Microsoft's gaming business.
A few Chinese gamers have spoken out against the hefty $600 price tag of the Chinese Xbox One, which is almost two times more than the console's $400 starting price in the American market. Gamers will also have to buy from Microsoft's "rich line-up" of games, with prices ranging from $16 to $40, including Western games such as "Forza Motorsport 5: Racing Game of the Year" and "Kinect Sports Rivals." The Chinese Xbox One will also include games made by local developers such as Tencent, Yingpei Games and Snail Games.