The sale of video game consoles has been officially banned in China since the year 2000, but there is news coming out of China that this ban may soon be lifted.
There is no official word by the Chinese government, but China Daily claims to have spoken to a source within the Chinese Ministry of Culture who has allegedly said, “We are reviewing the policy and have conducted some surveys and held discussions with other ministries on the possibility of opening up the game console market.”
However, even if the Chinese government is considering to lift the ban it would not be a straight forward process. As a number of Ministries were involved with the initial ban all of them have to agree to lift the ban to allow the official sales of consoles and games.
The major console developers have tried over the years since the ban to have it overturned and open up what would be the world’s largest single potential market in terms of buyers, with over a billion citizens residing within China.
Though the ban has stopped official sales of consoles, except for a brief period in 2004 when Sony released the PS2 there, there have been many third parties who have managed to smuggle consoles into China. In fact it was these events that led to Sony to withdraw the PS2 because of lost revenues.
Microsoft also do sell the Kinect in China, though it is advertised as a research tool and not a gaming peripheral there.
It is likely that China will eventually lift the ban as the country continues its rapid growth and modernisation, though there will likely be conditions that will be imposed regarding the sale of what type of games can be released.
Source: China Daily.