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Piracy stops Xbox in China

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Microsoft's Xbox gaming console will not be sold in Hong Kong or China for the foreseeable future, due to rampant piracy in the region.

The company is selling the actual hardware at a loss - as much as $125 per box, according to Merrill Lynch - and plans to recoup profits on its software titles, much like the razor blade or printer cartridge industry.

As pirated software in many Asian regions is so widespread, it doesn't make much business sense to sell there, a Microsoft source told the South China Morning Post on Thursday.

Sony faces the same issue; a spokesperson says the company has no plans to sell the PlayStation 2 in Hong Kong.

As for the official line, a Microsoft spokesperson says no date has been set for those countries, saying that in a country like China, "consumer demand for PCs and other hardware products is still quite small, compared with the professional market".

A visit to the console's official site appears to confirm this, with dates set for most global regions including Europe, Japan and Australia, but no mention of China or other Asian countries.

Of course, both Sony and MS consoles (and their pirated titles) will almost surely be available on the grey market. ®

Related Links

The South China Morning Post - free registration required to view article
Microsoft's Piracy Site
Official Xbox site

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