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Sony to launch PlayStation 4 in China next month

Sony to launch PlayStation 4 in China next month

TOKYO: Sony will launch its PlayStation 4 console in China next month, following Microsoft Corp. into the world’s biggest game market after the government eased restrictions.

Sales will start Jan. 11 with a price of 2,899 yuan ($469), Tokyo-based Sony said in a statement. The handheld PlayStation Vita will also begin sales at the same time at 1,299 yuan.

Console makers and game developers are pouring into China after the end of a government ban imposed in 2000, trying to win over a generation of players who shifted to computers and mobile devices. Gaming is one of the few bright spots for Sony, which has sold more than 16 million units of the PS4 since its release last year, as the company heads for another annual loss and has been embarrassed by a computer hack in Hollywood.

Sony plans to start packaging consoles for the China market from this month. Its venture with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group Co. (600832) intends to package 200,000 consoles annually, according to a filing earlier this year on the website of the Shanghai free-trade zone.

The PS4 will be released with games including versions of Square Enix Holdings Co.’s Final Fantasy as well as other titles including Knack and Little Big Planet 3, subject to government approval of content. Microsoft released the Xbox One in September with just 10 titles from the hundreds released for the console because of government content restrictions.