China Looking To End Ban On Video Game Consoles, But There’s A Catch

After 13 years, China’s government is reportedly looking to end its ban on video game consoles such as the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360, and the Wii U. There is, however, a catch.

According to a report from the South China Morning Post, there will be strings attached to the lifting of China’s video game console ban. Namely, foreign companies such as Sony and Nintendo must manufacture their products in Shanghai’s new free trade zone in order to sell their products in the country.

The move to ease restrictions on the sale of video game consoles is part of a blueprint policy backed by Premier Li Keqiang. The policy aims to open up China’s economy to the rest of the world, and to make its currency more widely used.

There is another requirement: the policy would require that video game products from foreign countries would have to be approved by “culture-related authorities,” the report states.

“They still need approval from the culture ministry and other relevant government bodies for their products, which I think is reasonable, because the government wants to make sure the content of your games is not too violent or politically sensitive for young people,” one source familiar with the matter, who was not named, told the publication.

Although video game consoles and games for them have been banned from the country since 2000, it never has been particularly difficult to purchase them; gamers in the country have been able to purchase consoles and games through China’s grey market for years, largely without much trouble.

Regardless, the news is still good for gamers in China – and, potentially, for the country’s economy. The video game industry is one of the world’s largest, and opening the doors for console manufacturers and developers to sell their products in the country could potentially promote some level of economic growth.

The big question, however, is whether or not console manufacturers will be willing to play ball. The publication reached out to a Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong, and a representative had this to say:

“We recognise that mainland China is a promising market. We will continuously study the possibility, but there is no concrete plan at this stage.”

[Image credit: Eric Jou | Kotaku]