The PlayStation 4 is still doing really well for itself since it launched in late 2013. The console is moving units left and right, with Sony just recently announcing that over 18.5 million units have been sold. So, one would think that Sony would want to keep the system’s success going and release it in as many regions as possible. That isn’t the case this time around, as Sony has decided to delay the PS4’s launch in China.
Delays in the game industry are nothing new, but when an entire console launch is postponed just three days before its scheduled date, people start getting curious. Those living in China that were eager for the console’s arrival on January 11, 2015 now have to wait until a later, currently undecided time, though they’ll probably be alright with the rest of the games available to them.
As for the reasons behind the sudden delay, Sony only said that “various factors” were involved. Reuters, however, citing a source in China, reports that prolonged negotiations with Chinese authorities was another cause. China continues to be one of the world’s largest game markets -though it’s predominantly PC and mobile gaming- so it’s understandable why Sony would want to bring its newest gaming console to the country: there’s a wide open market for console gaming. According to VentureBeat, China was second behind the U.S. in overall game earnings last year.
Sony isn’t the first company to hold off on their console’s release in China, however. Last year, Microsoft briefly delayed the Xbox One’s own launch, while also neglecting to offer any solid reasons. And even after it arrived in September, it barely made an impression. Both Sony and Microsoft can thank China’s 14-year ban on foreign gaming consoles for that (which was was only removed last year) as well as China’s censorship rules prevent the more popular, heavy hitting titles from selling.
If the pair of companies are dead set on selling their hardware in China, they’re going to have to do a lot more than simply launching there. The Xbox One currently has 10 games on sale comprised of sports, racing and fitness titles, while Sony is reportedly applying for the licenses to 30 games. But it’s still unknown just what their plans are to cut into the country’s PC and mobile gaming sales.
All that being said, it’s not like the two current-gen systems are struggling. Sony, as many have probably noticed, hasn’t shied away from announcing higher and higher sales numbers, while the Xbox One was revealed to have overtaken the PS4 in November thanks to bundles discounts and Black Friday sales that month.
Outside of China, though, and serving as an odd companion piece, consoles sales have dropped in Japan, the lowest its been in 24 years. Consider this another reason Sony’s going after China.