Chinese telephone network equipment maker ZTE Corp and online game developer The9 Ltd. have partnered to build China a native gaming console, the Fun Box, reports Bloomberg.
The Fun Box is slated to launch this month in China only, according to a statement from ZTE spokeswoman Qin Yina. Yina said the ZTE9 Fun Box will be cube-shaped and include 2 GB of RAM, USB and micro USB ports, Bluetooth controllers and dual antenna Wi-Fi capability. The Fun Box will also allow users to stream HD videos online and video through connected USB devices. Yina also stated the developing companies are currently in talks with video game developers both in China and overseas to create content for the Fun Box.
The news comes less than three months after China lifted the ban on sales of video game consoles in the region and opened console manufacturing for "foreign-invested enterprises" with government approval within Shanghai's free trade zone.
Shortly before the creation of the Shangai free trade zone last September, Microsoft announced it had formed a joint venture with media giant BesTV to bring China a new gaming device with streaming entertainment services. Previously mainland China had access to the iQue Player, a native developed and approved version of the Nintendo 64 console made through a partnership between Nintendo and Chinese-American software developer Dr. Wei Yen. The iQue launched in 2003 and has a library of 14 Nintendo games.
Shanghai-based The9 is the second-largest online game operator in China. It previously held exclusive operating and distribution rights to World of Warcraft in China and runs several other titles including Firefall and Planetside 2.