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China may relax console bans

Restrictions would be loosened, but foreign system makers would still need government approval to sell gaming hardware

China's ban on gaming consoles could be lifted soon, or at least relaxed. According to Bloomberg, the South China Morning Post reports that the Chinese government is planning to change restrictions on the sale of gaming hardware that have been in place since 2000.

According to the report, the restrictions will be lifted for consoles made in Shanghai's new free-trade zone. However, foreign companies would still need government approval from multiple agencies in order to sell their wares in China.

The console ban was instituted primarily due to fears over how game playing influenced the physical and mental development of children. The ban has not eliminated games from the market entirely, as smartphones and tablets with game playing features are allowed, and consoles are still available from black market sources.

The prohibition on gaming consoles was originally reported as being under review in January. Since then, both Sony and Nintendo have expressed interest in the greater opportunities that would be created by the relaxing or repeal of the ban.

Latest comments (3)

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
Damn, this would be great for western business. Each game in existence will be bought in china exactly one time, and that's gonna add up...
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Raphael Honore Localization Assistant Manager, Blizzard Entertainment Europe3 years ago
The ban has never been strictly enforced. Imported consoles have been widely available in China for the last decade or so - I wouldn't use the term "Black Market" when every single game street shop in major and medium-sized cities around the country openly sell Xbox and PS3.
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises3 years ago
Didn't we ban the sale of consoles to China first? Something about preventing them from using the GPUs and CPUs inside the console to power their missile guidance systems. Or was that just Iraq, Iran, and North Korea?
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