Why Sony Is Delaying The PlayStation 4 Launch In China Indefinitely

Sony e3 press ps4ReutersAndrew House, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony said in a statement Thursday it will delay sales of its PlayStation 4 gaming console in China, citing “various factors.” 

The PS4 was set to go on sale in the country Jan. 11. A new sale date has not been set.

According to Reuters, a “company source in China” says negotiations with Chinese authorities are partly why the PlayStation 4 won’t go on sale on Sunday. 

China has enormous potential for a company like Sony: The country is the world’s third-largest gaming market, with revenues reaching $US15 billion in 2014. Sony is also relying heavily on its gaming business right now to compensate for some of its weaker divisions, like mobile.

This would have been the first time Sony entered the Chinese market. The country only last year lifted its 14-year ban on foreign video games and gaming consoles, which opened the door for Microsoft to release its own console, the Xbox One, in September 2014. (Response to that console has been “chilly,” however.)

But entering China isn’t so simple: The country has strict censorship rules about what games can and can’t contain or show, which would prevent those games — some of them very popular — from going on sale. (Microsoft, for instance, only sells 10 games in China.)

Sony says it is currently applying for licenses for 30 games, working closely with the government to ameliorate concerns of censorship. The company looks to sell the PlayStation 4 for around $US467, which is a bit higher than its US retail price of $US400. That’s still cheaper than Microsoft’s Xbox One, which costs $US595 in China but only $US400 in the US.

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