No official distribution for Microsoft's Kinect in China not likely to stop console fans

Though China is the most populous country on the planet with 1.3 billion inhabitants, it's one market that's supposedly outside Microsoft's plans to launch Kinect, the Xbox 360's hands-free controller, according to a company vice president.

Since the turn of the century, no foreign companies or traders have been permitted to sell consoles or peripherals to China, and that means no Kinect - at least, not officially.

Chinese news portal Sina broke the news as Michel Van Der Bel, Microsoft International's VP for the Public Sector, confirmed corporate adherence with regard to the upcoming device.

That said, the government ruling hasn't dissuaded Chinese gamers too much in the past. Though the PC is the country's primary gaming platform, supported by 165,000 internet cafes, annual reports from Chinese market research specialists Niko Partners indicate that avid gamers are able to get hold of the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii.

Interviewed by industry news website Gamasutra, the company also referred to Nintendo's previous partnerships with Chinese manufacturer iQue as another way to distribute Japanese and American consoles on the mainland.

For the moment, that sort of agreement doesn't appear to be entirely necessary, but there are problems in terms of game sales: genuine imports can cost as much as 40 to 50 times more than counterfeit titles.

Meanwhile, the state-supported PC games industry is flourishing, as online adventures such as Fantasy Westward Journey remain popular.

The Xbox 360 Kinect is confirmed for a November 4 launch in North America. Sony's PlayStation Move controllers for the PlayStation 3 are set for a European and North American retail debut in the third week of September, with Japan to follow in October.

Nintendo, meanwhile, is yet to announce details on the Nintendo 3DS's release date, though it is scheduled to arrive before March 2011, and more likely before the end of 2010.

 

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