Back in January, rumors begin to surface that China was considering lifting a ban on the sales of video game consoles within the country. More reports that the ban would be lifted surfaced earlier this summer when it was again reported that China was considering eliminating the video game console ban. Today reports are coming in that China has voted to approve plans leading to the elimination of the ban on video game console sales that has been in place for 13 years.
There is one caveat to the ban removal with reports indicating that the catch is that game developers will have to be located within the Shanghai free trade zone. This is the same zone where China is also reported to be lifting restrictions blocking access to websites such as Facebook. In the instance of lifting the ban on websites like Facebook, access will only to be granted to those living and working within the free trade zone according to reports.
In the case of the video game console ban, companies that are set up in the free trade zone will be able to sell video game consoles to the mainland domestic market. China had previously banned the sale of video game consoles over concerns for the content the games contain. The Shanghai free trade zone will open on September 29.
When it opens it will usher in a huge market for console makers such as Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. China is one of the biggest growth markets for anything tech in the entire world and success here could turn around the fortunes of ailing gaming companies like Nintendo. Microsoft has already taken steps to enter the market with a joint venture between it and a Chinese company called BesTV to develop video games.
The joint venture will be headquartered within the Shanghai free trade zone. Analysts are predicting that with the console ban lifted, the game industry could see billions of dollars in additional sales. It’s also worth noting that PC gaming has been allowed in China during the console ban and it remains to be seen if Chinese gamers will convert to console gaming.