Gamers in China had a date with a brand new Xbox One booked for tomorrow, but Microsoft has thwarted those hopes by delaying the release of its console at the last moment.
A ban on foreign video game sales in China - introduced in 2000 - was lifted last year, allowing Microsoft to take advantage by making the Xbox One the first foreign console legally available in the country.
Gamers in China had been expecting to get their hands on the console on September 23 along with those in Hong Kong, Taiwan, India and Singapore, but they will now have to wait until later in the year for some fairly unclear reasons.
In a statement, Microsoft said it needed "a bit more time to deliver the best experiences possible for our fans in China".
At Xbox, we pride ourselves on delivering first-rate gaming and entertainment experiences, and to allow us to deliver on that promise, we need to reschedule the launch of Xbox One.Working with our partner, BesTV, we look forward to launching in China by the end of this year.
But despite Microsoft's insistence, sources told City A.M. the launch in Hong Kong is going ahead as planned. Microsoft's Hong Kong office said the Xbox One would be available in the region tomorrow, while staff at a number of video game stores, including Toys R Us and Hong Kong Records in Pacific Place shopping mall, said they "fully expected" to sell the Xbox One along with the new Fifa 15 tomorrow morning.
The Xbox One will cost 3,699 yuan or HK $ 4,180 (£368.74) on its own, and 4,299 yuan or $ HK 3,380 (£428.56) with the Kinect motion detection system. In the UK the console is already available in stores, at a price of around £330, or £389 with Kinect.
Microsoft will be hoping for a more successful launch in China than it accomplished in Japan last month. According to Japanese video game magazine Famitsu, the Xbox One sold just 24,562 units in its first five days on the country’s shop shelves. In contrast, Sony shifted 300,000 PS4s in the two days after its Japanese launch.
In August Sony revealed it had sold over 10 million consoles to users worldwide, more than double the 5 million Xbox Ones Microsoft had sold to retailers in April.
A successful launch in China could help the Xbox One make up the ground. China is the world's third-biggest gaming market: revenues grew by more than a third to $145bn last year.