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China to get $20 home-grown Wii-alike

Chinese gamers are set to get something not entirely dissimilar to the Wii, with local company 3DiJoy announcing a new console that will cost just $20.

The company is looking to take advantage of the governmental ban on imported, foreign consoles like the Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 with the launch of a motion-sensing console that will be offered to gamers for the bargain price of $20.

Unlike the Wii, however, it won't be a stand-alone product. Instead, gamers will be expected to subscribe to one of the country's IPTV streaming services for which the Wii-alike will be offered as an add-on, hence the bargain-basement pricing.

Li Hsu, chief executive of 3DiJoy, claimed in an interview with PCWorld that combining the two technologies, "Will drastically lower the barriers to playing such games - you do not need to connect the gaming box to a television set, as you are already connected to the game through your television."

Li went on to explain that 3DiJoy has a major advantage over first-to-market rivals like Nintendo: legality. "These [foreign] games consoles are banned in China, so ours are legal - those are not," he said.

Despite the dubious legality of getting down to some Wii Sports in the People's Republic, that hasn't stopped die-hard gaming fans who snap up the imported consoles on the country's thriving grey market - but a home-grown equivalent that costs a fraction of the official hardware while avoiding the risk of arrest will likely prove tempting to those who already subscribe to compatible IPTV services.

With Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft officially locked out of the extremely large Chinese market - the country already has over five million IPTV subscribers - 3DiJoy could well be on to a winner, not matter what the quality of games is like.