This could be huge news if true – China is apparently considering to end their nation-wide ban on video game consoles made by the likes of Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. In case you haven’t been aware of China’s strict cultural laws and policies, China banned video game consoles back in 2000 to protect the “mental health” of the Chinese youth.
The strange thing is that the ban has been in effect for domestic use of video game consoles while the consoles themselves have been made in China for many years in regions like Shenzhen. The key terms to the ban were that components could be imported to China, assembled and then exported to foreign markets – they could not be distributed within China domestically.
China is obviously a huge, growing market and the potential to finally, legally sell video game consoles and games could be a huge boost for the gaming industry as a whole. I’ve spoken to many Chinese gamers in my travels through southeast China and many of them have current-gen gaming consoles, many of them know lots of others who want to play games legitimately.
If China does end the ban on video game consoles, the terms various manufacturing companies would have to abide by would be – companies would have to move the production of their products to Shanghai’s new “free trade zone”, curiously detailed in the policy packages sources are reporting seeing.
The other key thing is that Chinese cultural officials still have to approve a game to be sold in China domestically, meaning they still want to filter out potentially offensive games.
Here is the original report from the South China Morning Post. What do you guys think about the potential ramifications of this decision? China is a huge market, having games legally available in China could invigorate the industry in my opinion.