PlayStation 4 Launch Delayed in China: What Is Sony Thinking?

Sony Corp is officially postponing the launch of its latest-generation gaming console PlayStation 4 in China, which was initially scheduled for January 11. According to the Wall Street Journal, Sony did not specify the motivation for this postponement, only citing “various reasons” for the decision.

The move is significant because the console’s official launch in China only comes after a 14-year ban on video game console sales in the country. PlayStation 4 competitor Xbox One, from rival business Microsoft, launched in China this past September. Sales of PC and mobile games, which have dominantly contributed to China’s $15 billion gaming revenue in 2014, are also competitive forces at work in China for the PlayStation 4.

Despite the lift on the ban of console sales, video game companies still face major hurdles in the country. Strict rules and widespread censorship frequently interfere with movies, games, and information that would otherwise be available to Chinese citizens.

According to Reuters, Hiroyuki Oda, head of Asia Business for Sony, made a statement in December.

“Cooperating with the government, we’ll provide a broad range of content for our users in China,” indicating a degree of collaboration with the country which could include censorship.

Sony’s original plans included selling the PlayStation 4 console to Chinese citizens for 2,899 yuan, roughly $467, which is a higher price than the typical $400 price in the United States. Sony’s PlayStation Vita, a popular mobile gaming platform that was also scheduled to launch on January 11, was priced at 1,299 yuan.

In comparison, the Xbox One platform sells for 3,699 yuan. Currently, it features 10 gaming titles available in China, though the majority of those titles have been censored by the government. Microsoft has not officially released any gaming sales figures for their China launch.

Sony still plans on making 2015 a memorable and significant year for the PlayStation 4 console, which has been criticized for its lack of compelling games. A feature on Inquisitr recently covered the company’s unveiling of the “15 for ’15,” a video which showcases 15 new games that are either a total exclusive or timed exclusive for the company scheduled for the upcoming year. Previously announced games with wide anticipation include The Order: 1886, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, while other new titles include Until Dawn, The Tomorrow Children, and Alienation.

Sony has not disclosed a revised launch date for the PlayStation 4 in China, and didn’t state whether they still intend to follow through with the launch.