Sony has officially launched the PlayStation 5 in China, giving gamers in the country the chance to get one without having to pay more than twice its retail price. According to CNBC, Sony has already started taking pre-orders for the console, which will go on sale in the Chinese market on May 15th. The disc version will set buyers back 3,899 CNY ($603), while the digital-only PS5 will cost them 3,099 CNY ($479). Both options' prices are a bit higher than in the US, but fans in the country have had no choice but to buy the consoles from the gray market at inflated prices before this anyway.
The gaming giant originally released the PS5 back in November 2020 and has since sold 7.8 million units, according to its latest earnings report. However, China's long approval processes and strict protocols prevent console-makers from making their products available in the country on their global release date. In fact, Microsoft has yet to announce when the Xbox Series X and Series S will be available in China even though it received safety approvals for its hardware to be released in the country by the end of 2020.
It remains to be seen whether the situation will change for gaming companies in the future. As CNBC notes, official releases for game consoles has only been possible since 2014, after the country lifted a 14-year ban foreign-made consoles. Thus far, there's been a strong demand for the PS5 in China, giving rise to a thriving gray market with resellers that import consoles from Hong Kong and Japan.
How the PS5 does against Nintendo Switch in the country — the most successful console to date in China — depends on several factors, though, including game availability. The country has stringent censorship laws, which prevent developers from releasing their games for Chinese fans. Sony confirmed at least three games for the market for now, namely Sackboy, Ratchet and Clank and Genshin Impact, which is a popular title by a Chinese developer. The gaming titan is also working with local company Ultizero Games on a PS5 game entitled Lost Soul Aside.