Microsoft has said that it will launch the Xbox One game console in China come September.
This announcement makes Redmond the first of the console manufacturers to make a move for the Chinese market, following the country lifting its ban on foreign game consoles back in January. As we reported at the time, China imposed the ban way back at the turn of the millennium, with the government professing its belief that game consoles could negatively affect the "physical and mental development" of youngsters.
Gaming is hugely popular in the country, though, on PCs, mobiles, and online – so the Chinese console market is one huge profit opportunity waiting to be tapped. And apparently Redmond can't wait any longer...
According to the Beeb, Microsoft is going to partner up with BesTV New Media Co, a subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group, in order to push the Xbox One to Chinese gamers.
Enwei Xie, who will be Microsoft's head Xbox peddler for China, commented: "Creators and gamers alike have eagerly awaited a new generation of entertainment experiences in China, and their wait will be over with the arrival of Xbox One this year."
This is obviously an important strategic move when it comes to recovering some of the ground Microsoft has lost to Sony in the PS4 versus Xbox One sales war. Sony recently announced it has shifted 7 million units of the PlayStation 4, compared to the Xbox One's 5 million – but as we've previously discussed, there's been controversy over Microsoft's figures and whether they're representing numbers sold to retailers, or consumers (Sony's are definitely the latter – and there's obviously a big distinction).
Whatever the case, Microsoft clearly still has a lot of catching up to do. Recent price cuts and Titanfall will certainly help, but the Chinese market could have an even bigger impact later this year. Of course, there's nothing to stop Sony bringing the PS4 to China, and indeed we'd expect an announcement along those lines before long.