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Chinese console ban under review - report

Government source claims 13-year console ban is being reassessed by Chinese ministries

The Chinese government is reviewing its nationwide ban on the sale of game consoles, China Daily reports.

According to an anonymous source inside the Chinese ministry of culture, the government has opened discussions between the seven ministries that agreed on the ban in 2000.

"We are reviewing the policy and have conducted some surveys and held discussions with other ministries on the possibility of opening up the game console market," the source said, though any change in policy would have to be agreed by all seven ministries.

The ban on the import, manufacture and sale of consoles was introduced 13 years ago, largely due to fears over the impact they would have on the physical and mental development of younger generations. The gaming culture in China is now defined by free-to-play online gaming, which will be a considerable challenge for console companies should the ban be lifted.

Speaking to Reuters, Sony Computer Entertainment spokeswoman Yoshiko Uchiyaman would not comment directly on the situation, but she reiterated Sony's interest in the market. "China [is] a promising market for our business, and we are always considering and preparing business opportunities and possibilities," she said.

Earlier this month, a report released by the market research company Techweb indicated that the Chinese games industry grew by 35 per cent in 2012. Total revenue for the year hit $9.7 billion - 90 per cent of which was generated online - and that is expected to more than double by the end of 2017.

Latest comments (10)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 3 years ago
This just after Apple's Tim Cook visits China, his second since taking over.

Maybe this announcement is more to do with Apple TV than Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft's consoles.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 3 years ago
I don't think you can just head over to China, make them re-evaluate their political decisions and cause China to announce change right after you leave.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 3 years ago
He has been three times in three years.
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Show all comments (10)
Doug Paras3 years ago
And that means nothing with no evidence. Maybe you think it could have been due to the fact that a manufacturer in china making stuff for apple was using under-age labor?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Doug Paras on 28th January 2013 1:47pm

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Brian Lewis Operations Manager, PlayNext3 years ago
I would not attribute this solely to a single source. I would think that it is more likely that the changes in the gaming industry (online game play, mobile growth) and the possibility of a new generation of consoles might have a larger effect. This, coupled with the recent shift of component construction from China to other markets might mean that they are looking to invest in internal growth and sales of these devices for economic reasons as well.
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Kevin Danaher Associate Producer, EA Mobile3 years ago
I highly doubt the Apple TV has anything to do with it. In the last quarter the Apple TV sold 2m units compared to more than 70m for iOS mobile devices. It's a connected country with most of it's entertainment being sucked down online but iOS mobile devices can already do that in the Chinese market. I'm sure the Chinese government are pleased Apple launched the iPad line there recently as the sales will be high and therefore tax revenues will be good. Apple TV doesn't justify the same kind of excitement though.

I think it's more likely the growth of the worldwide console market in the last decade, predicted to be ~34% greater again in the next 3 years. That would take the market to a value of almost 35 billion. Hard to ignore that...
(sorry for the multiple edits, just checking my facts and figures)

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Kevin Danaher on 28th January 2013 5:23pm

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Can't we just say that there are more reasons to the change in attitude is more than just Nintendo and Sony interests?
And still no news reported in the West on the Chinese wholly developed console/PC platform seen behind closed doors at CES?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 28th January 2013 9:16pm

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Florian Dhesse Creative Diretor, Kabam3 years ago
the ban of consoles in China is an illusion. You can find any console with any game (mostly cracked) very easily. And since Chinese console gamers are more and more attracted to multiplayer games, there is a significant increase in legal games being sold. Maybe the government is admitting that the ban is simply ineffective.
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Herve Sohm Business Dev. Manager, Ankama Games3 years ago
Interesting. I'll be more likely to think that this has to do with Chinese manufacturers willing to invest the market rather than any "pressure" from foreign compagnies. Chinese game companies, contrary to their counterparts in most other industries, are growing thanks to domestic demand. This annoucement is for me a clear sign that a Chinese company is planning to launch a console in the market.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Herve Sohm on 29th January 2013 9:39am

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Al Rhodes Web producer/designer 3 years ago
Clever clever Sony. So that's why PSN have been promoting F2P games for so long. They must have seen this as a possibility at some point in the future.
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