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Fuze launching F1 console in China, with the aim to beat Sony and Microsoft

With a hybrid design that splits the difference between a PlayStation 4-style core gamer console and an Android microconsole, is the company hitting on the right formula for the market?

The video game analyst and blogger known as ZhugeEX has posted a pair of interesting blogs (here, and today, here) about the impending launch of Fuze's F1 console, which will launch in China on June 1 and seems designed to land square in the middle of the market. 

All the official details of the console were announced in a press conference today in Beijing by Fuze Entertainment CEO Wang Feng.  

In terms of design and functionality, the console seems to sit between high-powered, disc-based consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which officially launched in the country in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and Android microconsoles like competitor Tencent's Ministation.

The physical design of the console strongly resembles the PlayStation 4, and its interface also calls that system to mind; its controller mimics the Xbox One's. However, it's an Android-based device with no disc drive and a base price of 899 RMB ($138) on the low end, and 1499 RMB ($230) for the "elite" package, which includes a 500 GB hard disk.

The console is based on the Android OS and includes an Nvidia Tegra K1 processor and an Nvidia Kepler CPU. According to ZhugeEX, the company will control its app store, however. 

More interesting to an English-speaking audience, perhaps, is that Fuze is working with both domestic Chinese and foreign partners to bring games to the console -- both Japanese and Western companies are involved. Fuze has promised franchises such as Saint's Row, Assassin's Creed, and Dynasty Warriors, among others, on its website. ZhugeEX reports that non-Chinese publishers including Koei Tecmo, Codemasters, Comcept, Ubisoft, Deep Silver, and Arc System Works are involved with the device. He writes that "around 76" games are confirmed to launch on the console this year, with more than 100 in development. 

Fuze is even funding the development of at least one non-Chinese game -- Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune signed a deal with the company last year for the development of Red Ash, as the game skidded to a stop on Kickstarter. 

The company is also preparing a VR headset for the console to launch later this year, at a cost of 1100 RMB ($169).

Though consoles had been illegal in China since 2000, they were legalized in 2014. Further restrictions on their manufacture were eased last year. However, Sony and Microsoft have faced an uphill battle for adoption of their products, and Nintendo abandoned plans to enter the Chinese market with its own console product after initially planning to enter.

Fuze has announced no plans to target Western markets with the device. 

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