The launch of a new video game console for the Chinese market will be delayed while the Lenovo-funded gaming unit developing the device makes improvements.
Beijing Eedoo Technology had originally planned on releasing its eBox gaming console at the start of 2011. But the company has decided to postpone the release date to sometime after the Chinese New Year, which will be celebrated in early February.
The company still wants to make further improvements to the console’s user experience, said Eedoo spokesman Zhang Zhitong. “The exact release date has yet to be decided,” he said.
The arrival of the eBox could allow Eedoo to plunge into a market that companies such as Microsoft and Sony have long sought to tap with their own gaming consoles. Concerns with how devices will affect Chinese youth have caused the country’s government to ban gaming consoles such as the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 from being officially sold in the country.
The eBox uses a motion-sensing technology similar in concept to Microsoft’s Kinect device for its Xbox 360. The game console allows users to play games with their physical motions by observing their body gestures, rather than detecting the movement of of handheld controllers through space the way the Nintendo Wii does.
Eedoo believes the company can sell its eBox device to 12 million homes in urban areas. About 30 games, from developers in China and other countries such as the U.S. and France, will be released with the console, according to the company.
The concept of tracking users’ movements to play games has already proven to be popular outside of China. Microsoft’s Kinect device sold 8 million units just two months after it was released in November, beating the company’s original forecasts.
Microsoft continues to work toward making its Xbox system officially available in China. Sony is also exploring eventually selling its PlayStation console in the country, said Kee Sook Ming, the head of Sony Computer Entertainment’s Beijing representative office.
“We believe China is a market with a lot of potential,” he said. Still, there is no timetable on its release. Consumers in the country, however, can buy the gaming consoles from the gray market, where devices are often bought overseas and then taken back to China to be resold to customers.