PlayStation 4, PS Vita launching in China January 2015

The Xbox One might have had the crown this recent holiday season, but Sony's consoles are getting ready to take on a completely fresh and potentially huge market next month. Going behind schedule by a month, Sony has just announced that it will start selling the PlayStation 4 (CUH-1000 series) and the PlayStation Vita (PCH-2000) in China starting January 11 next year. Given than Microsoft isn't far behind, this will mark a new arena in the battle for console supremacy between the two giants.

This announcement is big for Chinese gamers and industry watchers. It was only late last year when China removed the ban, which was in place for 13 long years, that prevented game consoles from being sold, especially by foreign companies. The only caveat was that those companies who want to sell consoles in China must have an office in the free trade zone of Shanghai. Not exactly a huge impediment for those that really want to bring their wares to Chinese gamers.

And who wouldn't considering how viral games are in the country and how ripe the market is for consoles. The Chinese gaming market is mostly dominated by MMOs and LAN games, where the likes of Starcraft and DotA are considered as e-sports. In that vein, the Chinese gaming market has its own strong culture, and Sony will do well to capitalize on that as well aside from simply bringing in popular titles from the West and from Japan. Indeed, it will be showcasing games made by Chinese developers, such as King of Wushu, Mr. Pumpkin Adventure, and One Tap Hero. The company also promises to help local developers bring their games to the console.

The PlayStation 4 in China will sell for 2,899 RMB, roughly $470, while the PlayStation Vita 1,299 RMB or $210. That's quite a price jump from their US counterparts, so it remains to be seen if those will sit well with the Chinese market.

Microsoft might still have a chance to beat Sony to the punch now that the latter has committed to a specific date. Redmond wanted to bring the Xbox One to China as early as September but later rescheduled to a December date, similar with Sony's initial timetable. It still has a good few weeks to make that come true, though Microsoft might be more interested in taking advantage of the Chinese New Year next year as well.