Sony announces Chinese PlayStation 4 launch plans

After Microsoft's similar move for Xbox One.

Sony has announced plans to release PlayStation 4 in China, just weeks after Microsoft revealed a similar move was imminent for Xbox One.

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Like Microsoft, Sony will partner with a local company to launch the console - the catchily-named Shanghai Oriental Pearl Culture Development (OPCD), Engadget reports.

Interestingly, both the OPCD and Microsoft's own partner BesTV are owned by the same parent company, the huge Shanghai Media Group conglomerate.

Sony's partnership will create two new businesses: Sony Computer Entertainment Shanghai will look after software and be mostly owned by Sony itself, while the even more catchily-named Shanghai Oriental Pearl Sony Computer Entertainment Culture Development will look after hardware, with Sony as a minority owner.

But there's no details yet on exactly when Sony will launch its hardware in the region. Microsoft has nailed down the Xbox One's Chinese launch to September.

China lifted its 14-year ban on the sale of video game consoles back in January, although Sony has had its eye on the country for far longer. In an interview with Eurogamer last year, Sony Computer Entertainment boss Andrew House said he hoped any move into the Chinese market would help push sales of the PlayStation 4 past its predecessors.

But despite China lifting its ban, the country still requires that all games released in the region will follow a strict set of cultural rules. "Anything that promotes obscenity, drug use or violence" is banned, as is anything that "insults, slanders or violates the rights of others". Any gambling-related content or features are also outlawed.

PlayStation's launch "will introduce quality, healthy games that are suitable to China's national conditions and the preferences of domestic players," Sony explained, "as according to the relevant government policies."

But will either the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One be a success? Alice Returns developer and Chinese resident American McGee recently pointed to multiple differences in culture which might hamper the sucess of any games console. Analyst Piers Harding-Rolls countered this by saying that console manufacturers could find success if they partnered with local companies to assist them - as Microsoft, and now Sony, are doing.

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