China is the next big frontier for console gaming, and Sony isn’t going to let Microsoft take it all for itself.
The PlayStation company is filing the proper documentation to release its latest home console, the PlayStation 4, in China’s Free Trade Zone. Sony’s paperwork indicates that it plans to ship around 200,000 PS4s to China each year starting in December, according to a Bloomberg report. This would give Sony exposure to a massive population that is one of the world’s fastest-growing gaming markets. It would also give Chinese gamers an option when it comes to consoles, as Microsoft’s Xbox One is the only modern system on sale in the country. With PS4 outselling Xbox One around the world, Sony doesn’t want to give Microsoft too much of a headstart in China.
Sony Computer Entertainment confirmed that it is going through the legal hoops to make PlayStation 4 launch in China a reality. But in a statement provided to GamesBeat, the company wants to make it clear that details and a Chinese release are still up in the air:
Though it is true the filing was made and approved, some parts of the document such as the amount of shipment, number of staff, production start timing, were only tentative and do not represent the actual business plan. We have yet to announce which system will be available in China, price for the system and the launch date.
While the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are both selling well in Europe and the United States, the Japanese market has turned away slightly from those traditional platforms in favor of smartphones. China, with its 1.25 billion people, could replace the revenue that company’s like Sony are losing in Japan.
China is already a huge gaming market. It spent $13 billion on the digital hobby last year. Most of that, $8.7 billion, is on PC client-based releases like League of Legends and World of Warcraft. Browser games generated another $2 billion while mobile was at $1.8 billion. Console games, meanwhile, only made $15 million in China because they were technically banned starting in 2000 by the government to protect children from violent images.
Earlier this year, China’s regulatory bodies got together to loosen the rules prohibiting consoles, which has opened the market up to Microsoft. Sony is already showing that it is ready to follow, and Nintendo probably isn’t too far behind, either.