The next battleground of the console wars?
With China ending its thirteen year ban on the sale of game consoles, a new market has just opened up- a potentially one billion customer strong market. All three console manufacturers have been looking at ways to enter and appeal to this market, but Microsoft just became the first console manufacturer to legally sell its own branded console there in thirteen years. Yes, Xbox One is now the first console sold in the country in over a decade, with Microsoft taking orders for its new game console from online retailer JD.com Inc. (JD)via Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s (700) mobile-messaging applications. The console is slated to ship nationwide in September.
“The potential market for Xbox in China is huge, there’s a lot of prospects for growth,” said Bill Fan, a Hong Kong-based analyst at China Securities Co. “Tencent could cooperate with Microsoft on games in the future, and Xbox can utilize Tencent and JD.com’s distribution channels to generate more sales.”
Can the Chinese market be the deciding point in the next round of the console wars? Or will it turn out to be largely inconsequential in the scheme of the bigger picture?