Sony is set to finally roll out the PlayStation 2 in China on December 20, priced at 1,988 Yuan (â'¬200) and accompanied by two software titles, Ape Escape 2 and ICO, which will retail for 168 Yuan (â'¬17) each.
The console will be available initially from outlets in selected cities across the giant nation, including the capital Beijing. This marks the first time that Sony has made its hardware available in China, a country which has traditionally been shunned by the games industry due to an extremely high rate of software piracy.
Sony's pricing policy in the region is interesting, with the PS2 hardware being sold at a significantly higher price than was anticipated (with around â'¬150 being considered to be the high end of the scale last week), but the software retailing very cheaply indeed.
A large number of third party publishers are expected to launch software for the PS2 in China in the coming months, bolstering Sony's initial two first-party titles. Launches from Capcom, Konami, Namco, Sega and Taito are expected to be announced shortly.
In a related story, Sony now claims to be winning the battle against PS2 software pirates in Hong Kong, one of the biggest markets for pirated software in the world, with over 140,000 units of pirate PS2 software seized this year and a crackdown against the sale of PS2 consoles with built-in modchips continuing.