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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.

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James Brightman avatar

James Brightman

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James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.

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