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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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Dan Pearson

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