The Wall Street Journal has reported that China has ended a 15-year long ban on video game consoles. The statement from China came from the Ministry of Culture, which stated that video game consoles will now be allowed to be designed, produced and sold anywhere in China.
The country’s Ministry of Culture first placed a ban on consoles back in 2000 based on the fear that the video gaming industry would negatively influence children’s mental and physical development (i.e. make them fat and lazy). Since then, China has been moving towards ending this 15-year long ban; last year it eased the ban in the Shanghai market area. The Shanghai trade zone was created in 2013 to give foreign companies wider access to industries which are prohibited in other areas of China. However, last year’s easing up on the restrictions carried its own restrictions, for instance, every single console sold had to be individual inspected before it could be sold to the consumer.
Now, the ban consoles in China has been completely lifted meaning that companies like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft will be able to (legitimately) penetrate one of the biggest video gaming markets on the globe. It will be interesting to see how this move will affect the Chinese video gaming culture, which drew in a massive $13 billion in 2013. The market in China is currently dominated by PC, mobile and web gaming and it will be cool to see how the lifting of the ban will affect consumer behaviour.