China Telecom will help Microsoft sell the Xbox One in China later this fall, as the two companies announced an exclusive deal today.
The mobile carrier will sell the Xbox One in September to anyone who subscribes to its broadband service. Exact prices and release dates have not been revealed.
It’s a noteworthy deal, one that will give Microsoft access to 30 million China Telecom customers. The Xbox One will be the first foreign console available in China since 2000, when the country banned foreign-made gaming machines due to potential mental health effects for children.
The relaxation of the ban has been seen as a potential economic boon to Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Sony announced in May that it would establish a joint venture with Shanghai Oriental Pearl (Group) Co. to start manufacturing and selling Playstation hardware and software in China, but it’s unclear when the PS4 will be available in China.
Perhaps the head start for Microsoft will help the company catch up to Sony, which has outsold the Xbox One with its PS4 both globally and in the U.S. Back in May, Microsoft noted more than 5 million Xbox One’s shipped to retailers worldwide. That was more than 2 million behind Sony, which reported more than 7 million PS4s sold to consumers — not just retailers — worldwide.
In addition, the PS4 has outsold the Xbox One in the U.S. for the past six months. That includes June, despite the fact that Microsoft doubled its Xbox One sales last month after it began selling a $399 version of the Xbox One without the Kinect sensor on June 9 — a $100 price cut from the Xbox One with Kinect.