Skip to main content

The first commercial for the Chinese Xbox One is...very game-uncentric

Before the formal debut which is planned for September this year, Microsoft and its Chinese joint-venture partner BesTV just brought the Chinese version of Xbox One to China International Cartoon & Game Expo (July 10 - 14, in Shanghai), for a brief demonstration. A quite lengthy commercial for the console was revealed, highlighting the Chinese Xbox One's, um, for lack of better words, let's say "highly localized functionality and marketing strategy".

Here is the video itself, in Chinese, for your enjoyment. There are English subtitles, but sadly they are blocked by all those human heads. I'll try to explain what exactly happened in the video below.

(Note: Video is not available on YouTube, so you may need to watch from a web browser)

  • A high school student comes back home.
  • His mother, who's watching some kind of video on the Xbox One, paused the video with a quick voice command, to greet her son.
  • The kid settled down on the sofa, launching Forza 5, and played for a tiny little bit, 1 second or so.
  • His mother is not exactly happy about this, telling the kid to "play with that AFTER finishing your homework".
  • At this very time, Skype on Xbox One rings. The kids picks up the call with a voice command.
  • The caller turns out to be... His math teacher, reminding him to do his homework, plus have a look at trigonometry courses on Khan Academy.
  • The kids produces a Surface, launches the Chinese version of Khan Academy on both Xbox One and the Surface, and started to practice problem-solving.
  • After about 5 seconds, the mother came reminding again, "Time to practice your English, son!"
  • The kid gets rid of Khan Academy, and launches an app literally called "Learn English" on Xbox One. Apparently there's a voice command for that.
  • The kids reads along, unlocking an achievement in the process.
  • Again, the manipulative mother interrupts, proposing to purchase a new study-focused app for her son.
  • And she does just that, purchasing a new app from the Chinese-specific Xbox One app store, with a combination of gesture and voice command.
  • Surprise, the mother didn't even force her son to try the new app on. Instead, she allowed him to play games or watch TV as much as he likes, for he somehow just managed to finish his homework in a total of... about 11 seconds?
  • So the kid proceeds to watch a TV show through BesTV's video on-demand network.
  • And that's it, end of video, thanks for coming.

Many have been infuriated by Microsoft's keynote on E3 2013, saying it was not game-centric enough, with too much TV and generic entertainment. Well, if that was "unfocused", this is... I don't even know what to call it. The clip is 3:20 in total length, yet it's not so hard to count every single frame actually featuring games (sorry, shouldn't use plural here, my bad).

Yes, Chinese parents tend to have such notion that kids should not have simple, pure fun. For every ounce of fun had, there must be something learned from it. This is especially true with video games, which has so far in the Chinese mainstream opinion been supposed to be exclusively for little kids. Back in the days when game consoles were not banned in the country, for every game advertisement, there usually comes this side-note saying  "电子游戏,开发智力" (Video games help kids develop their intelligence), effectively marketing game consoles not as game consoles, but study-helper devices.

But now we are sitting on the 14th year into the 21st century, when the generation of Chinese born in 1980s (myself included), who grew up along with the entire video game industry, are already having their own offspring. Shouldn't we, who are still playing video games, and probably doing so together with our kids, be Microsoft's primary target audience? Why so kid-centric? Why is this all about studying? Where are the games? Microsoft, do you want to sell Xbox One for what it really is in China or not? Plus, why don't you bother finding a couple of professional actors and a serious scriptwriter? This clip is essentially 200 seconds of materialized and consolidated shabbiness. Have a look around major social media networks like Sina Weibo, the entire Chinese internet is now laughing at and mocking this commercial. What a shame.

Meanwhile, let's have a look on the bright side of life. This video clip does have some good news to offer, if we look at it from the right angle:

  • Kinect has Chinese voice commands. Good localization!
  • Forza Motorsports 5 will be there in the Chinese Xbox One game lineup. Not bad!

I'm a bit concerned about how the mother and son keep going back to the home screen while switching between apps. Does this mean the Chinese console, with its (probably heavily) modified firmware, has trouble handling app switching?

The Chinese Xbox One will be formally demonstrated on China Joy (end of July), and hit retails by September. We will keep an attentive eye on this.

Source: A9VG, via WPDang

99 Comments
  • What? Well...
  • Well,it's for Asians after all, Study first,game later ;) P.S:-I'm not being racist,I'm an Asian myself :)
  • It seems that microsoft wants chinese parents to accept Xbox as a learning tool. This is too ... stupid. Everybody knows that the main function of Xbox is entertainment and communication. The problem is that a huge number games still will be limited in the mainland China. We will not get those games legally.
  • Is there any chance that this is a state initiative that Microsoft sponsored and, "collaborated" on?
  • well not really, they want their kid to learning and few playing, China mom mostly focused on their score, and Xbox can teach their children and playing, watching and more, so microsoft DID the best
  • But I think I like it. After all Xbox One does more than just gaming right. I love it.
  • Exactly. I did like how they were able to demonstrate a bunch of capabilities in a relatively short time - this is shit the other systems can't handle. However, they could have added a little humor to it - have the kid play a co-op or vs match his mom or something. Have dad call in instead, catch them goofing off and reminding him to do his homework. Better yet, show the dad playing games himself on his Windows Phone, see that his son signed on so he Skypes him to tell him to do his homework  and he himself goes back to playing his game after he hangs up. Something like that-lol
  • India is waiting for xbox
  • Xbox isn't available ?
  • He means Xbox One
  • i know and i asked about its availability
  • It will be available in september in India
  • it's funny how there is people in syria who have PS4 + XBone but not in india 
  • Yeah they don't have any laws over there. The west will take over
  • Go back to CNN, FOX, CNBC, MSNBC you fuck. No one cares about your political view here.
  • Isn't it September?
  • OK second week of july and still no sign of Cyan? BBM still waiting. Xbox for China good for them. Whats the next topic on a Friday in July?
  • iTunes beta for WP 8.1 next topic, lol.
  • Where's vlc player for wp???
  • May be our grandchildren will get that thing!
  • This guy has it ! https://twitter.com/ThomasNigro/status/478885152303882240/photo/1
    but he isn't saying when ! https://twitter.com/ThomasNigro/status/481339947295977473 and it's rumored to be in august
    http://wmpoweruser.com/vlc-for-windows-phone-coming-this-august/  
  • Asian jokes Microsoft has? 11 second homework completion? Lol
  • That's all it takes them and Indians to kick our arse in math and spelling
  • Yet they still suck at it. Lucky English is a complex language or else we would be screwed.
  • My Reaction: wtf
  • Well...my future is surely not in China lol (no offense intended)
  • Umm.... THIS IS NOT the 'first commerical'..... this is one of many demonstration videos showcasing the multi-uses of the Xbox One, this one catered to that audience.  There is a gaming one, and there are other ones as well showcasing the different uses of the Xbox One for the particular user in the video uses it for.  This one probably was shown because it shows the best implementation of the Chinese localization, whereas the others would just show gameplay.
  • Well, who cares? People found something to complain about and you are taking it away from them :)
  • If it's in the news, that must mean that it is inherently news-worthy, right?
  • You're calling me. I'm starting to wonder is "Who cares" a unique term used in this website.
  • Pathetic.
  • So Chinese kids only get 11 sec homework? Wow
  • Nah, 11 sec because of XB1. Without XB1, 11 hours.
  • without pen and paper, 11 days
  • Whine a bit more please, they couldn't hear you in the back. It's not just a gaming console, Kane. Sorry if that offends your sensibilities.
  • Well said
  • Third world country that probably has a better grasp on the rest of the world.
  • Chinese know how to make everything look boring and gay. That commercial takes the piss, especially when they live in a glorified 3rd world country.
  • May be you should go to china PHYSICALLY and see for yourself, you'll be amazed.
  • China is a shithole. And the people are awful.
  • Prove it kid.  
  • you should see how china mom teach their children and ow they react to children's score
  • You lost me when you used gay as an insult, homophobe.
  • China is bent on being the new economy, not interested in having it's children sitting in front of the boob tube wasting themselves away. Their state run media is different than our own, ours is bent on pacification through distraction and slight of hand. Theirs is doing it by working towards being the next superpower at all costs. Heck they train kung fu in grade school. Microsoft doesn't want to sell Xbox in China, Microsoft wants to sell ANYTHING China will allow it to. Pretty f'd up.
  • Im pretty sure its more likely that Microsoft see 3 billion sales rather than 3 billion people. Your company would be stupid not to try to take some of that money. I mean a dollar from every person is an easy 3 billion dollars. Sell a console to half of them at $500 and you're laughing at apples billions.
  • Looks like the demo was created to show the following: 1) Localisation 2)Functions available 3)Apps available In regards to Games, that is a tough one as majority of the games currently on the xbox one would most likely not pass the "certification process".
     
  • I really don't see the issue with that presentation. Basically, it is just showcasing what Xbox One can do other than gaming. As some one said it here, this is not the only presentation for Xbox One in China. In addition, just because all the bells and whistles didn't pan out here in North America and some other countries, it doesn't mean that it will not work in other markets.
  • Yeah, if only an Xbox could do that. Anyone who's used an Xbox one knows that opening apps is a slow process which requires much patience. Sigh
  • Perhaps their One's resources are dedicated to other things, like surveillance and propaganda, not games?
  • Perhaps, but I believe you phrased that dyslexic. Or with an iota of ADHD. Maybe even autism. Ahhhh, first world problems, perhaps?
  • I have it, and I don't have any issues opening apps with voice command.
  • I am so dissapoint, why xbox one and no Abox ten?
  • What's happening here....Life of a Xbox Child....
  • Article seems a little silly.
  • To clarify... I mean that the article feels more like a forum posting. A rant. I suppose it could be classified as an editorial of sorts.   
  • Rants, speculation and anecdotal evidence are the new black.
  • That's journalism for you.
  • Transcript: "This is the XBox One. You will buy it. It will be installed in every home. With it we will be able to watch your every move. We will even see you making babies, so control yourselves, or we will. Buy this now and hook us up, bitches!" Repeat for duration of video
  • I'm sure you do nothing that they would care about anyway. Oh look some washed up guy going about his normal boring life. Yeah next person.
  • Brainwashed Xbone as usual.
  • It seems an effective commercial for the culture. Just not seeing the problem.
  • That's the problem - not everyone understands cultural differences. Usually Microsoft can never excel at marketing their products but I must say they have really nailed this one. The advert will go down quite well in that region.
  • It would be much easier to sell XB1 in the Chinese market as a family entertainment center instead of a gaming machine.  The Kinect control is a must for the XB1 bundle even it has a higher price tag.  XB1 without Kinect will be considered crippled, incomplete, less useful and lower bundle.  That is a 'no no' for the Chinese minds which are very practical and value focused.  Besides, pure gamers are still a minority of the population.
  • Well to be honest in Asia parents rarely are into Xbox games, and buy these majorly for kids. And the upcoming commercials will cover gaming part. So didn't really mind it..studies and gaming covers both.
  • Eh. This is 1 of the smallest show case videos that has been shown over there.
  • I liked the commercial. It went through quite a few features in a short period of time. Bam bam bam bam. One right after the other. The XBOX ONE is an EXPENSIVE machine. This is especially true in China. If a parent is expected to invest such a large amount of money into the device, they want to know that there is a benefit for their children. Sure... to the kids it's mostly about games. But the kids aren't the ones that are buying it. As a side note... if I had a math teacher that looked that hot I wish she would Skype me.
  • +1520
  • +920
  • +1520
  • At least they don't have to pay too much since the factory is down the road
  • Except we don't even know the price yet.
  • Typical family-centric Chinese view of things. They know what works best for them. And targeting such an expensive piece of kit at families showing them it's not all games is the way to sell it.
  • WHAT!? They aren't targeting American game-centric audiences in CHINA? IT'S 2013 E3 ALL OVER AGAINOLIGJHIOJFDNFEDFBKEJFH
  • Noice
  • WAIT!   Did he unlocked a achievement by doing his homework? That woul've helped a few years back...
  • Correction to article: The Xbox E3 2013 keynote was 100% game centric. There was no TV and entertainment stuff at last years E3 or this year's E3.   Xbox is only being allowed in China because it can be used for education and health. Game systems were not allowed officially in China because the government considers most games to be harmful/wasteful to young people and the public at large. Criticizing Xbox for not being game centric in China is not reasonable because it is only these other uses of the console that has garnered them the ability to sell officially in China with full support. There is probably going to be a ton of scrutiny over every single game that is offered in the country officially.
  • Exactly. Someone who gets it.
  • Bullshit. Xbox E3 2013 is more towards "TV TV TV" than being a game-centric show. Deny all you want but that's the truth.
  • Who the hell cares. It does games. You know that. Why is it such a problem for it to do other things as well? Should the PS2 be shunned because it played DVDs?
    Stupid.
    "hurrr tv exbaux go hom ur drunk" yea funny meme
  • Stereotypical... Math homework? Asians?? Wow
  • I'm a southeast Asian myself and I'm sure pretty much nobody likes math here.
  • unless you are chinese, most chinese said "if you failed at maths, shame on you", then you will know why lots of chinese like maths,fast calculating + can overcome stupid people paying complicated coins ( pay 5 penny, 10 5cent, and more..), and most chinese do business stuff, so they must good at maths (for chinese only)
  • Don't worry my Chinese friends the PS4 will be your gaming console to. But you'll find entertainment like the rest of the world  watching Microsoft flounder with the Xbox One 80. They just can't seem to help themselves. 
  • Because with your giant knowledge of culture you realised how much the Chinese LOVE japan.*sarcasm. Go back to playstation you bumbling idiot, keep your stupidity off xbox.
  • Shut up Xbone, you don't have a boner SO you actually need an external one cuz you don't have one, dumbass.
  • actually the Chinese just like Koreans play mostly PC games, that's why you see most mmorpgs being developed in Korea and China. so yeah you are totally wrong and making up crap.... the funny thing it's you saying "my Chinese friends" oh yeah... I am sure you have NONE.
  • my god... this looks like it's from the 70's...
  • Have you seen what china is producing in a lot of cases. Its not that flash. They aren't innovators as a culture, they find something and make it functional.
  • You've gotta be joking ! Not innovators as a culture, well who are, then ? Wait don't tell me, the west.  You're a joke, when China was in Dynasties era, they were way more advanced in inventions, which is a more advanced level than innovating, than West or Japan. So either you bring your Anti-China attitude out of here, or I'll troll you constantly.
  • China has never innovated, the Han simply conquered many countries that did then assimilated them into the filth that exists today. Culturally that country is a joke.
  • Yeah because West didn't conquer anyone. Oh btw, they didn't innovate much because they have too many things to invent. So deal with it kid.
  • good god, you people need to go take a shot of tequila and either go have a fist fight at the bar or chill out... i just said the commercial is like its from the 70s, cant you guys play nice =.=oh and stop it with the racism here
  • Chinese are super smart. 11 seconds. Pish posh. :)
  • 1 second of gaming lol.
  • Its for the Chinese, who cares about them. Not even other asians like then.
  • Certainly business care about them. I think you're just jealous of Chinese, I bet you're a Pinoy or Viets. Other Asians including Japanese other than these groups don't have much hatred for Chinese.
  • They even hate themselves. Everyone hates them, except for Americans for some reason.
  • O hai Mr.Know-it-All.
  • that kid should be proud having more than 1 second gaming, and less than 1 hour to finish his homework, having a less control mother, a sexy math teacher... wait what?