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. Microsoft is partnering on the launch with BesTV New Media Co., a subsidiary of China’s Shanghai Media Group.
The launch gives the Xbox One a head start on the PlayStation 4 in China. The Sony console has jumped out to an early lead over the Xbox One in other parts of the world.
Microsoft released the console after an unexplained delay of nearly a week, with 10-government approved launch titles. They will be available initially in digital form, before making them available on disc. Another 70 titles are “in the pipeline for approval,” according to the company.
Despite the early enthusiasm for the launch, Bloomberg News cautions that Microsoft “will contend with a generation that learned to play games on smartphones and tablets rather than consoles, and the hurdle of having available only 10 titles out of the hundreds released for it. Regulators are wary of violent content, and among the absent games are Destiny and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition.”
One Chinese gamer who bought the console told the news service that he considered it a “souvenir” and wasn’t interested in any of the 10 launch titles. “I’m waiting for Halo and Titanfall,” he said.
Microsoft is also facing an antitrust investigation in China related to Windows and other products. Visiting the country last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reportedly promised to cooperate fully with the Chinese government’s inquiry.