"Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited, the largest online game operator in China, began selling its IPTV gaming console for RMB 6,850 (USD 849) on a limited trial basis this week, Shanda PR Manager Li Lijun said Tuesday.
Shanda's EZ Station IPTV gaming console, image: IT.com.cn
Trial sales of the "EZ Station" IPTV gaming console are only being held in the city of Yiwu, in eastern Zhejiang Province, because IPTV services are available in the city, a Shanda sales official told Interfax. "It will not take a long time for Shanda to officially launch the product throughout China," the sales official, who asked to remain anonymous, said.
Although Shanda's "EZ Station" is only available for sale in Yiwu, individuals outside of the city are able to place orders for the IPTV gaming console through a telephone hotline and a new website (http://EZ.sdo.com
). These advance orders, which do not require a deposit to make, will be delivered once Shanda rolls out the "EZ Station" to other cities in China.
Shanda's "EZ Station" has been highly anticipated since the gaming company first unveiled plans for the console late last year. However, its price has already turned off many consumers. Chinese gamers have already begun to criticize Shanda for launching what they term a "luxury item." One gamer said that for the price of Shanda's "EZ Station," he could buy a Sony PlayStation 2, a Microsoft Xbox, a Sony PlayStation Portable, a Nintendo Game Cube, and a Nintendo Duel Screen on the Chinese black market.
Microsoft's new XBox 360, which will not officially be sold in China until 2006, is available in the U.S. for between USD 299 and USD 399. Sony's PlayStation 2 is sold in China for about RMB 1,500 (USD 186).
However, the price of the "EZ Station" is not the highest in China for an IPTV console. In October, Chinese electronics maker Hisense launched the company's new Zhijia M series entertainment PCs priced at RMB 9,000 (USD 1,115), which supports IPTV and broadband functions, as well as featuring many of the same functions as "EZ Station." Moreover, Changhong Zarva Information Technology Products Co., Ltd. said it would launch a similar digital home product priced at about RMB 10,000 (USD 1239) in early November." [more
]Looks like another contender in the ring - NOT!