Game consoles could finally be sold in China. That is according to reports that the country’s State Council has already approved rules that would allow sale of such videogame equipment in the country. This would finally open the doors of the huge market to gaming consoles from Japanese and US firms.
Sources claim that those rules would be part of the policies applicable for the proposed free-trade zone in Shanghai. However, selling of those consoles would not be restricted to the zone. Gaming consoles should first be approved by the Ministry of Culture to be allowed to be sold across the country.
Speculations about the possible lifting of prohibitions for gaming consoles in China first surfaced earlier this year. That ban started in 2000 in an effort by the Chinese government to ensure protection of physical as well as mental development of its youth.
That ban has not been strictly enforced, though. That is why Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp have been able to release their gaming consoles (PlayStation and Xbox, respectively) in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory. But those consoles are yet to generate significant revenues in the region. This because most gamers in the country still prefer to play mobile and PC games.
In time for new consoles
The timing of this possible lifting of Chinese ban also comes at an interesting time for both Microsoft and Sony. Both companies’ latest versions of their gaming consoles—Xbox One and PlayStation 4, respectively—would be launched globally in November. If the consoles would finally be allowed to be sold in the country, Chinese gamers would be among the first consumers to purchase any or both of the consoles.
Microsoft seems quick to prepare for the anticipated lifting of console ban in China. Just this week, the company formed an alliance with Chinese gaming firm BesTV to establish a local venture to be called E-Home Entertainment Development. Under the partnership deal, Microsoft would invest $38.71 million, while BesTV would infuse $40.29 into the new venture.
Shanghai free trade zone
Meanwhile, the proposed free trade zone in Shanghai is set to open many other doors for products and services that are presently banned in China. A few days ago, there was a report that the country would finally allow Facebook and Twitter to be accessed but just within the trade zone.
Both social networks have been prohibited in the country since 2009. The Chinese government blamed the Websites for the violent demonstrations that year. China reportedly wanted investors and participants in the free trade zone to be at home while in the area and allowing access to global social media could be a good strategy.