• Reuters

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Sony Corp. will delay sales of the PlayStation 4 in China, originally scheduled for this Sunday, due to “various factors,” the company said.

Sony’s computer entertainment division said Thursday a new sale date had not yet been determined, but a company source in China said prolonged negotiations with Chinese authorities were part of the reason for the delay.

Sony is leaning on its game business to partially offset weakness in its mobile division.

Beijing lifted a 14-year ban on foreign gaming consoles last year, paving the way for Sony rival Microsoft Corp. to launch its newest-generation Xbox in China in September.

Despite being the world’s third-largest game market, where revenue in the sector hit $15 billion last year, analysts say China may be a tough market to crack for console makers because strict censorship rules that prevent the sale of many popular titles could make consoles less attractive to gamers.

Sony and Microsoft will face stiff competition from PC and mobile games, which have dominated the Chinese market.

Sony has said it is in the process of applying for licenses for 30 games. The company has sought to head off censorship concerns, saying it is working closely with the government.

“Cooperating with the government, we’ll provide a broad range of content for our users in China,” Hiroyuki Oda, head of Asia business at Sony Computer Entertainment, told reporters in December.

Sony plans to sell the PlayStation 4 in China for 2,899 yuan ($467), slightly higher than in the United States, where it sells for around $400. The portable PlayStation Vita has been priced at 1,299 yuan.

The Xbox, which sells for 3,699 yuan, currently has 10 titles on sale in China, mainly censor-friendly sports games such as “Forza Motorsport 5.” Microsoft has not released Xbox sales figures for China.

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