Microsoft launched the Xbox One in China today, becoming the first foreign company to release a game console in the country in 14 years. In a post marking the console’s debut, Microsoft called it a “monumental day” for the Xbox team, and it looks like gamers in China feel the same way. Long lines greeted the launch, and upon purchasing the Xbox One, one gamer reportedly yelled, “I finally get to play!” China banned foreign game consoles outright in 2000, citing the impact of video games on youth in the country, but an expansion of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone last year relaxed the rules.
I’ll be the first to admit it: I didn’t expect it to happen. But now, Microsoft has proven me wrong. The Xbox One is China’s first official video game console in 14 years and, as of today, it is officially on sale. Originally slated for release last Tuesday, the console was delayed for six days. There was a launch party set up, but due to poor weather, the party was canceled. Microsoft also provided statements, saying that haven’t been any new celebrations planned for the console’s launch. Despite the lack of official plans, the Xbox One’s launch wasn’t without fanfare. One of Microsoft’s retail partners organised a midnight launch for eight of its retail outlets across China. Sure, it’s not like a midnight release at a GameStop, but Sunning electronics had a store in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shenyang, Wuhan, and Chongqing open at midnight. That’s pretty much the major Chinese cities.