China have temporarily lifted their ban on selling foreign video games consoles, an order which had been intact for the last 13 years.
The Chinese government originally banned entertainment systems back in 2000, stating that the mental health of its young inhabitants was being adversely affected by them.
However the Shanghai free-trade zone in China has now decided to reverse this decision, with officials in the area labelling the move an "experiment [to] temporarily adjust" said regulations. They added that they made this adjustment so that they can "explore the experience of reform and opening."
The statement confirmed that the government will now allow foreign firms to produce consoles within Shanghai's free trade zone, before they are then sold across China. It went on to note that all of these games and devices will first have to be examined and inspected by officials from within various cultural departments before they are actually allowed to be played with by the country's citizens though.
It's not yet known how long this break in the ban will last for, but various companies effected by this announcement have responded to the news with restrained optimism.
Sony said, "We recognise that China is a promising market. We will continuously study the possibility, but there is no concrete plan at this stage."
Meanwhile, Yasuhiro Minagawa, the public relations manager for Nintendo, admitted that they are still not sure how to approach this revelation, remarking, "We are still not sure exactly what we will be able to do in Shanghai, and thereafter in Greater China. Both with hardware and software, there are many things we have to look into and so we can't say anything concrete."
Chris Green, an analyst with Davies Murphy Group, was more excited about the news though, and he explained that a battle between the likes of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will now begin to dominate the market.
Green stated, "This is an enormous market worth potentially tens of billions of dollars. Now this is going to be a race to see who can be first to market, who can get a factory in the Free Trade Zone up and running and get consoles off the production line the fastest."
He believes that Microsoft will eventually triumph over its competitors too, predicting, ""Sony and Nintendo have their own factories but Microsoft outsources its hardware and could be the best-placed to gear up and get a third party electronics contractor to start making the consoles."
[Image via Stuart Jenner/Shutterstock]