The PlayStation 5 is launching worldwide in November, but not in mainland China. That’s why dedicated Chinese gamers are already plotting how to get their hands on grey market imports. In other parts of Asia, the next generation Sony console hits shelves on November 12 in Japan and South Korea and November 19 in most other places, including Hong Kong. But a launch date for mainland China is conspicuously missing. The PlayStation announcement notes, “Availability in each country [is] subject to local import regulations. PS5 launch date for [mainland] China is still under exploration and will be announced at a later date.” The uncertainty is driving gamers in the country to alternative channels to try to get their hands on one of this year’s most anticipated gaming consoles, which is launching seven years after the PS4. The PS5 starts at US$399.99, but buying from grey market importers could mean facing a hefty markup. “I want to go to Hong Kong to snatch one, but I don’t think I can outrun those crooked traders,” wrote one commenter on the microblogging platform Weibo. People in mainland China are used to waiting longer than the rest of the world for new games and consoles to show up. The government’s stringent approval process leaves gamers months, or sometimes years, behind other parts of the world. The Nintendo Switch, for instance, only launched in mainland China last December, more than two years after the international version debuted elsewhere. People had often turned to e-commerce platforms for smuggled units , mostly from Hong Kong and Taiwan, to get their fix of popular games long available elsewhere. This is still the only way for Switch owners to play games that aren’t one of the handful approved for sale in Nintendo’s Chinese eShop. Sony’s PS4 also took a while get to the mainland. Between 2000 and 2013, the country imposed a ban on foreign game consoles before it started easing restrictions. The ban wasn’t completely lifted until 2015, which was when Sony launched the PS4 and the handheld PS Vita in the country . That was more than a year since the international release of the PS4 and more than three years since the PS Vita launched. By then, grey market consoles had already proliferated . Some gamers believe that history might repeat itself with the PS5. “The official price is really cheap. I just don’t know how much it’ll cost once it lands in the hands of second-hand dealers in China,” one Weibo user said. Others don’t want to wait at all for either the official Chinese launch or imports from smugglers. Why the impact of China’s 15-year console ban still lingers today “Pre-ordered the PS5 on Amazon Germany,” another Weibo user posted. “Shipping is so expensive! But I’d rather spend more on Amazon than for traders on shopping platforms to make a single penny.” To sweeten the deal, Sony is teasing a number of exclusive and first-party titles for the new console. Final Fantasy XVI , God of War: Ragnarok and Demon’s Souls were some of the most talked about on Chinese social media after the PS5 showcase overnight. “I’m buying the PS5 after all … God of War and Demon’s Souls are too tempting, sorry Microsoft!” wrote one Weibo commenter. Microsoft’s rival console, the Xbox Series X, launches outside mainland China on November 10, two days ahead of the PS5. Hogwarts Legacy , a third-party title coming next year, also kicked up a lot of excitement. The Harry Potter franchise is hugely popular in China. Last month, a 4K remaster of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone had the best opening weekend at the box office since the Covid-19 pandemic forced cinemas to close for months. “Who hasn’t looked forward to attending Hogwarts and getting a letter delivered by an owl?” a Weibo user asked. “My only worry is that it may not come in Chinese, but then what year is it? All games should come in Chinese.” China’s PlayStation 4 users lose back door for overseas game access While the legacy of the console ban means mobile and PC games remain more popular in China, console and TV games are gaining ground. By 2024, the country is forecast to have more than 19 million console gamers, up from 11 million last year, according to research firm Niko Partners. But they will still make up a relatively small group of the country’s estimated 720 million gamers this year.