Oct 3, 2013
China has an infamous ban on video games and consoles; but this has come to an end.
The Chinese regime is pretty restrictive, and for the past 13 years the public had not been able to play video games. This was for a number of reasons, including what impact the acts of violence present in games could have on the masses, as well as certain messages video games can preach. Essentially, China were attempting to save young minds from being warped by video games.
Consoles are available for sale in Hong Kong, and filter out through the black (or gray) market. However, a legal way to release consoles is much more important for the games industry. A new Shanghai Free Trade Zone has been created, to create new jobs and allow foreign business interaction and investment. The leaked document that held the information translates to:
7, Video game consoles, entertainment systems sales and services (National Economic Industry Classification: F Wholesale and Retail — 5179 Other machinery and electronic product whole sale). Opening Steps: Video game and entertainment equipment manufacture and retail are now permitted, pending cultural department inspection and approval of video game and entertainment devices that can be sold to the domestic market.
This is great news for the likes of Sony or Microsoft, among many companies, as an entirely new market has opened up for them. The Chinese have had a taste of mobile gaming, and will surely want more. World of Warcraft and free-to-play games such as League of Legends are already popular within the country, and so it shows that the market is there for other systems and games.Yet the pricing of old hardware could be too much for the average Chinese consumer to purchase.
Despite all this, The Ministry of Culture’s approval is still necessary to publish games in the country, but it is a huge step forward into the modern era of entertainment for China. It could mean however, that there will be multiple challenges facing publishers, as they will have to meet all the demands of the Chinese government to release games there. Not only games, but consoles and other systems will also have to meet certain criteria to be released. Microsoft may have had a heads-up, as it partnered with BesTV, an internet TV service in China. They aim to stream video and gaming content in China, similar to Sony’s PS Vita. It seems there are many new gaming ventures available now that the ban has been lifted.
It is still too early to say what impact this will have. But it is big news for the industry, as China is a colossal country, full of people starved of gaming pleasure. And I’m sure they’ll want to experience what the rest of the world has been enjoying for the last decade, and into the future.