Back on January 28, we heard a rumor that China was considering lifting a ban on gaming consoles, something that was reported by Reuters. It has been six months, and now we’re hearing this again, only the sources claim that the lift will go in effect with a stipulation that game makers must produce the consoles in Shanghai’s free-trade zone.
In the summer of 2000, the Chinese government elected to ban video game consoles due to concern of the effects they could have on the mental health of its young citizens, particularly concerning violent video games. Under the ban, video game consoles can not be sold, with only components being authorized for importing for devices meant to be exported again out of the country.
As such, the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and other modern gaming devices have not been officially available in the country. This hasn’t prevented many users from acquiring them anyway, but for more than the last 12 years, those buyers have been required to buy the devices and games off the black market. This will be changing in the near future, assuming the sources are correct.
Said one of the unnamed sources: “[The video game makers] still need approval from the culture ministry and other relevant government bodies for their products, which I think is reasonable, because the government wants to make sure the content of your games is not too violent or politically sensitive for young people.”
As such, it can be expected that some games will be barred from sale in the country, which isn’t surprising. As we mentioned, the game makers – such as Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft – will be required to build their consoles in the Shanghai free-trade zone. Said one of the other sources: “You may think the game console is a small deal in the whole policy package for Shanghai, but it’s an interesting instance showing how China wants to open up to foreign investors.”