Microsoft’s Xbox One is a pretty progressive console with its region lock, in that there is none- any game bought anywhere can be run on any console from anywhere, and the Xbox live storefront is universal across regions.
The elephant in the room, the one exception to all of this, is China- you see, the Xbox One, in order to comply with local Chinese regulations, is uniquely region locked in China. Chinese Xbox One consoles will only run content bought within China, either physically or digitally.
This has been a huge disadvantage for the console in the market, especially in the face of the fact that Sony’s PlayStation 4 has somehow been able to avoid the same region lock (you would think local regulations would apply to all consoles equally), making it a far more attractive product on this front (and indeed, in general, given the scarcity of new game releases in the Chinese market).
But now, it appears, a new firmware update for the console in the region is similarly breaking the region lock– users throughout the country are reporting that a new firmware update that went live yesterday removed the lock, although there has been no official word from either Microsoft or its local distributors regarding the matter.
Assuming this is true, kudos to Microsoft for being swift with their response to the problem, as always. The question now is, is this, like all their other Xbox One related maneuvers, too little, too late? Is the perception of the Xbox One as a region locked console indelibly embedded into the Chinese mainstream consciousness?
Guess we’ll find out.