Last year, after China had indicated its intention to relax restrictions on console sales, Microsoft set up a joint venture with BesTV New Media, a Chinese Internet TV company.
"Launching Xbox One in China is a significant milestone for us and for the industry," Yusuf Mehdi, a Microsoft corporate vice president, said in a statement. "And it's a step forward in our vision to deliver the best games and entertainment experiences to more fans around the world."
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The Chinese government banned console sales in 2000 to resist what government officials perceived to be the negative influences of video games. In theory, China is a huge potential market for Microsoft and other console makers.
It is unclear how successful the companies will be there. Despite the console ban, game playing on devices including personal computers and mobile phones has become deeply entrenched in China, and players may not see a compelling reason to change their habits. Additionally, consoles have been sold illegally in the country for years, and piracy rates on games are high.
—By Nick Wingfield of The New York Times.