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Andrew House: the PS4 is struggling against censorship in China

"I don't think it has been a kind of a rocket launch start"

Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House has admitted that sales of the PlayStation 4 have been slower than expected in China so far, putting some of the disappointment down to an ongoing battle with Chinese censorship over what titles can be published.

"We are still challenged somewhat with a censorship regime that we have to work with. This can be time-consuming," House told Reuters. Whilst he accepted that "I don't think it has been a kind of a rocket launch start," House was also confident that there was "tremendous potential for gaming as an entertainment medium in China."

Chinese content restriction regulations are still tight, despite a relaxation of the trade embargoes which have allowed both Sony and Microsoft to sell consoles in the territory since March. Even though the hardware is now available, few are tempted to buy it when the available catalogue of games is limited by strict rules on the portrayal of violence and negative representations of China.

With big name titles like Killzone Shadow Fall, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Grand Theft Auto, and Bloodborne banned from sale, some Chinese gamers are importing region unlocked versions from Hong Kong, where no such restrictions apply. But many more are simply not investing in the console.

Nonetheless, House is confident of achieving the forecasted 16.5 million unit sales this year, believing that burgeoning sales elsewhere will compensate.

"Our hope would be that there is further upside there, particularly in Europe, where the market seems to be extraordinarily strong, that may be the case," he concluded.

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Latest comments (5)

Paul Jace Merchandiser 6 years ago
So China is the new Australia.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
Hmmm. I wonder why this wasn't considered at all when this business plan was being cooked up. Research into every possible nook and cranny is important, I'd say...
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American McGee CEO, Spicy Horse6 years ago
It's beyond me why Western game media continue to write on this topic without having even a basic understanding of realities on the ground in China. Who thinks Sony or Microsoft want to admit how bad the situation has become? Case in point: "some Chinese gamers are importing region unlocked versions from Hong Kong."

Some? Odd to characterize *millions* of units being sold via the gray market out of Hong Kong as "some." There's a bigger story here... Why not provide details on price point differences between gray market and legit units? Or explore how The Great Firewall makes it difficult-to-impossible to get these machines online?

There's a much more interesting story to be told here. But it'll never be heard if the only source for news is the same group that's being slaughtered on the battlefield.
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Claas Grimm CRO, Red Hot CG6 years ago
@American: Exactly. I have remarked this many times before in here as well. There is ZERO incentive to buy a China market console from one of the few official retailers that dare to sell it. Similar situations occured in different markets with e.g. early iPhone generations were they grey market outsold official retail by a ratio of 1:5 to 1:7.

I'm pretty sure Sony and Microsoft are well aware of the situation though, they are in for the long run. They are still able to market and advertise their brand at the moment. If people buy US or HK versions it is still sales.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Claas Grimm on 18th September 2015 6:52am

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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany6 years ago
@American:
Reminds me to the old days in Germany in which if you wanted to see how well a violent game is sold in Germany, you had to check the Austrian sales.
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