Now that China has lifted its home console ban, Sony is ready to sell systems and games to China’s 1.3 billion consumers.
One month after Microsoft announced it’s launching the Xbox One in China this September, Sony today announced that its PlayStation business is coming to the world’s most populous country — a place where the existing game industry without home consoles is already worth $13 billion a year.
It’s unclear which PlayStation hardware and games will come to China — or when — but it’s possible that Sony will bring its PlayStation 4 console (and perhaps its PlayStation Vita handheld) to China later this year.
Most of Chinese players spend on PC and mobile games. That’s not the system-makers’ fault: China implemented a console ban in 2000, saying it would protect children from violent video games. As soon as the Chinese Ministry of Culture said it would begin working on new rules, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony all expressed interest in bringing their consoles to the country.
Like Microsoft, which is working with Chinese media firm BesTV to bring the Xbox One to China, Sony also has a local partner: Shanghai Oriental Pearl Culture Development (OPCD). Both OPCD and BesTV are subsidiaries of China’s Shanghai Media Group.
Sony’s OPCD partnership will create two new companies, split between hardware and software. Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) Shanghai will presumably handle the software business, while Shanghai Oriental Pearl Sony Computer Entertainment Culture Development — a mouthful, we know — is expected to manage hardware manufacturing and sales. Sony China will own a 70 percent stake in SCE Shanghai, but only a 49 percent stake in the latter business.
Despite the impending arrival of PlayStation and Xbox, China will continue to censor or ban any games it deems controversial or subversive.
“Things that are hostile to China, or not in conformity with the outlook of China’s government, won’t be allowed [under the new rules]” said Ministry of Culture head Cai Wu earlier this year. “We want to open the window a crack to get some fresh air, but we still need a screen to block the flies and mosquitoes.”
Hat tip: Engadget