Since 2000, China had put a ban on console gaming mainly because of the unhealthy nature of video games that could negatively impact the youth. The South China Morning Post tabloid reported that China is going to withdraw the ban that it has imposed on gaming consoles. This means major brands like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft will be able to promote and sell their gaming consoles officially in China.
Even after the ban is uplifted, the gaming console makers are supposed to adhere to the guidelines set by the government. It has been reported that the gaming console makers are required to launch a ship in the proposed free-trade zone that is going to come up in Shanghai.
The withdrawal of the ban allows console manufacturers to sell their devices anywhere in the country but they are subjected to receive approval on each product from cultural related entities. The report says that gaming console manufacturers are required to receive approval from culture ministry. The whole idea behind it is that the government does not want games containing violent content to reach the youth of China.
Even though marketing and distribution of gaming consoles have been since 13 years in China, it is a well-known fact that console hardware has been exported from the country for international since a long time. Major brands like Nintendo and Sony import console components in China and then those components are dispatched to contract manufacturers for building the devices. Foxconn is the manufacturer for Nintendo Wii. The Xbox 360 was built by Flextronics and Hon Hai Precision Industry is also one of the makers of PlayStation 3.
For Chinese gamers, a flourishing yet well hidden ‘black market’ has always been a source to obtain desired gaming consoles. The withdrawal of the ban will certainly allow consumers to easily purchase any gaming console from the Shanghai free trade zone. By doing this, the government of China wishes to portray itself as a positive country for international investors.
The Shanghai free trade zone is being built to turn the city into financial and distribution hotspot for overseas investors. Shanghai is also set to become tax-free zone with topnotch transport and communications. So, companies like Nintendo and Sony will seek approval from relevant government agencies and then start selling their consoles in China.
The news about the removal of ban had lingering around since the past the six months and now it seems that it will so go in effect. China has been major market for smartphones and tablets and game enthusiasts have been playing games on these devices and PCs even after the ban was imposed by the government.
Even though the ban has been removed, it is quite understandable that China will continue to bar the shipping of some video games that contain violent content. The ban on video games never sounded sensible and it was erratically enforced as gamers could play their favorite games on PC or online or through the black market. Now that the door has opened to market gaming consoles in China, it would be interesting to see how Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft fight against each other in the competitive market.