China is set to completely lift the ban on the manufacture and sale of gaming consoles in the country with an estimation the Chinese gaming market will be worth USD$22.2 billion by 2016.
In a statement released by the Ministry of Culture, it means that after 15 years, foreign and domestic companies will be allowed to manufacture and sell gaming gconsoles anywhere in the country.
However, China’s control over the video game content is unlikely to change meaning that those classed as violent games are unlikely to make it past censors.
China initially banned gaming consoles in 2000 to protect children and youth from the perceived negative effects of playing video games including “threatening state security, damaging the nation’s glory, disturbing social order and infringing on others legitimate rights,” according to reports.
Despite this there is a thriving black market in China for gaming goods alongside many other restricted products, perhaps in no small part to the fact that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are all manufactured in China.
In January 2014, China relaxed the ban by allowing foreign invested enterprises to manufacture consoles inside Shanghai’s Free Economic Zone.
Current Chinese games have been limited to PC and mobile games with the gaming scene very different to the rest of the world.
China is said to be the second only to the gaming-crazy nation of Japan when it comes to gaming in Asia. Sony and Microsoft are gearing up to start tapping into China’s huge potential market.
Rumours to end the ban in 2013 were quashed by the Chinese Ministry of Culture.
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