China to end decade-long ban on game consoles

The WSJ says console sales will happen as part of a new free-trade zone in Shanghai

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, China will finally allow sales of game consoles after more than ten years of banning the hardware. During that time, consoles were typically sold on the black market but consumers in general have shown a preference for PCs and smartphones.

Seven government ministries originally agreed to ban consoles back in 2000. The group voiced concern for the effect games might have on young people; that same group, however, helped gaming on computers in Internet cafes take off across China.

Consoles will soon be sold as part of a new set of rules issued Friday for a new free-trade zone in Shanghai. While an exact timeline for when consoles will go on sale hasn't been stated, China's highest decision-making body, the State Council, has specified that foreign companies that operate sales and production within the new trade zone will be allowed to sell their products across China, pending approval of each device by the Ministry of Culture.

Platform holders, anticipating the move, are clearly looking to take advantage. Earlier this week, Microsoft made a splash when it announced a partnership with media company BesTV New Media Co., Ltd to bring a new gaming console and streaming device to China. Unconfirmed reports suggested that the device would be based on the Xbox but be labeled the Bestpad.

Latest comments (2)

Frank Trottier Analyst programmer 4 years ago
Tron Legacy - The game has changed

Edit: I remember when China banned PS3 because of the power of the cell engine. They were talking about the potential of this silicon chip for making weapons. missile guiding tech .. look what I just found,news-5177.html

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Frank Trottier on 27th September 2013 7:19pm

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Robert Kist Technical Art Manager, Virtuos4 years ago
except for online play you often get more value from a modded version which you can buy easily outside this free-trade zone. Not to mention, except for PS3 games you'll have a rather hard time getting legit non-pirate games. The difference this will make is that maybe big chains can now sell official consoles - but if that will put the established grey market our of business, in a country where piracy is the norm, remains to be seen.
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