Sony taps local powers to help it ship the PlayStation to China

PS4 controller
Will Sony launch the PS4 in China? Or something else?

Sony's shares on the Shanghai stock exchange rose to their highest point in two months when the company announced two new ventures that it hopes will help it launch the PlayStation in China.

China only recently lifted its 13-year ban on dedicated gaming consoles, and Sony is eager to start moving units in the untapped market, according to Bloomberg.

To that end Sony formed two ventures with China's Shanghai Oriental Pearl (Group) Co., the company behind Shanghai's well-known Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower.

Sony owns 70% in one venture and 49% in the other, suggesting it's willing to cede some control to Oriental Pearl if it means the multifaceted company will help Sony get its consoles onto shelves in China.

Easier said

Microsoft also recently announced plans to expand the Xbox One to China, according to Bloomberg, forming a $79 million (about £47m, AU$85m) venture with the Shanghai Media Group subsidiary BesTV New Media Co. in September.

And Nintendo said May 8 that it's working on a new low-end console, separate from the floundering Wii U, for "emerging markets."

Technically Sony may do the same; a spokesperson for the company reportedly declined to say whether they'll try to sell the PS4 in China or create another console tailored specifically for the region.

Unique needs

China does have some unique needs when it comes to gaming; given that consoles have been banned there for more than a decade, players are more used to PC games and, especially, free-to-play games on smartphones, tablets and web browsers.

Sony and other game console makers are no doubt hoping that that very situation has created a desire in players for a higher-end console gaming experience, but in fact the opposite might be true, and Chinese gamers may balk at these consoles' high prices and limited game libraries.

Piracy in China is an issue as well, of course, but the online features of the PS4 and Xbox One may help deter it.

Naturally the market will be the judge in the end, and it will be interesting to see how the region reacts to these invaders.

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Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.