The PlayStation 5 have officially launched in China on May 14, holding its own launch party in Shanghai.
Six months after the Western launch of PlayStation’s New Generation console, the PS5 is available to the Chinese market. Consoles only having been legalized in China as recently as 2015 after being banned in the country for 15 years. However, they have not sold nearly as well in the country as they do in other regions despite China of course having the world's largest population and becoming big spenders of luxuries over the last decade.
A report from Niko back in 2018 reported that there had only been 1.5 million PS4 sales in China since its launch 3 years earlier. While this isn’t a small number by any means, it is comparatively to sales in the US and Europe, despite the population difference.
Why is this? Well, with the console ban since 2000 PlayStation or indeed Xbox haven’t become the massive name brands there as they have elsewhere. Upgrading from your PS3 to the PS4 is expected for anyone already in that ecosystem, but to jump in without that history makes China’s market uniquely unacquainted with the PlayStation brand.
China currently is much more enthusiastic with games on the mobile phone and PC than couch consoles. This is likely due in part to lacking personal room to have a games console setup. With much of urban China consisting of small rooms for apartments that just don’t allow for the TV and console setup we associate with gaming in the west.
China is also the largest base of PC gaming in the world, with components being cheaper, PCs being upgradable, Monitors being generally smaller than a TV, and PCs being of multiple uses to justify the space it takes up.
However, with the hype behind the PS5, and building upon the PS4s install base. I expect the PS5 to be more successful than other consoles before it.
With global chip shortages making getting hold of a PlayStation 5 a feat of extreme persistence, we must assume Sony have a stockpile reserved for this new market.
The Xbox Series consoles are yet to launch in China, due out on June 10th, it will be interesting to see if the usual market share matches that of the West.
Arguably with their budget console the Series S, the incredible value of the Game Pass subscription model, and the higher emphasis put on cloud mobile gaming. The Xbox should really be the console of choice to China.
The Series S already been the bestselling console for March in India.
“According to multiple retailers across India, the best-selling console in March 2021 was the Xbox Series S followed by the Series X.”
Specifically, I feel with the preference for Mobile and PC gaming in China, Xbox providing a service that gives many games to the mobile platform and cross play and saves between Xbox and PC, this really could turn out to be Microsoft's biggest play.
China certainly looks to be becoming a major player in gaming, as they have become major in just about everything since the start of the Millennium. Chinese company Tencent being the largest game publisher in the world and having a 40% stake in Epic games, current holder of ‘biggest game ever’ title in Fortnite.
They have also recently struck a deal with Microsoft, though not too much is known about what to expect from this.
The native Chinese game development appears to be set to make waves in the West too. With Black Myth: Wukong by studio Game Science turning heads last year and looking for a release in 2023. This could well be a future where China punches hard into the mind share of gaming.
We will speak more of the future of China’s game development in a future article. So please, give us a like and follow on our social platforms to stay up to date.
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