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Asia Minute: Video Game Consoles Slow to Catch on in China

w?odi / Flickr
w?odi / Flickr

The business of computer games has topped ninety-billion dollars a year around the world….and it continues to grow. That’s according to an estimate by a company called Newzoo. But one place where computer console games have not caught on is China. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

If you’re a gamer…you may be taken with the likes of Xbox One…or Play Station Four.  But in China, not so much.  Most video games there are played on mobile devices, or on personal computers. Not on consoles hooked up through television sets.

Until last year, the sale of game consoles in China wasn’t even legal….they were banned for fourteen years.  The government still controls the games allowed to be sold—nothing too violent, and nothing that might portray China in a bad light.  Once the ban on consoles was lifted, some predicted China’s market would skyrocket.  So far, it hasn’t turned out that way.

This week, market research firm Niko Partners reported Microsoft and Sony expect to combine for sales of a little more than half a million consoles in China this year.  That’s a big number, but not compared to global sales.  Bloomberg reports the two companies expect to sell a total of about 54-million world-wide.  Xbox and Playstation still captivate American consumers.  The market research firm Newzoo says they outsell mobile games here by a margin of nearly two to one.  But the global market is shifting. NewZoo says this year, mobile games will outsell console games for the first time ever.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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