The Prodigal Sony Returns To China

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The PS4 is headed to China.

After China dropped a decade-long ban on gaming consoles, Sony is making plans to bring its latest gaming console to the massive Chinese market. The last time a Sony gaming system was available through official channels in China was 2004.

China previously tightly regulated gaming consoles with strict sales restrictions that were aimed at countering youth exposure to online games as the WSJ reports.

Under the latest local restrictions, foreign companies can sell consoles and games only if done in Shanghai’s free-trade zones. Sony has partnered with the state-run Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group to make and sell PlayStation consoles and software in China.

Microsoft recently announced a similar plan that would bring the Xbox One to the Chinese market as well.

This effort should bolster Sony’s struggling finances. Gaming is one of the company’s three areas of focus and so far the PS4 is outselling the Xbox One worldwide. Sony expects sales to improve, too, with a forecast of 17 million units for the year ahead, up from 14.6 million in the prior year.

Sony’s success in China is not guaranteed. It faces tough competition from an established black market and a populace which turned to PC and mobile gaming after Sony and Microsoft withdrew their market offerings.