China could end decade-long ban on video game consoles

By on January 28, 2013, 12:00 PM

Chinese authorities are reviewing the possibility of lifting a ban on video game consoles that has been in place since 2000, according to the state-run China Daily. An anonymous source from the Chinese Ministry of Culture told the publication that government officials have "conducted some surveys" and talked with other ministries about "opening up" the game console market, but a final decision is yet to be reached.

The ban was originally put in place to protect the "physical and mental development" of China's youth. But it hasn’t exactly curbed gaming in the region considering online computer games are popular in China and the rise of smartphones have opened up new avenues for mobile video games. Consoles have also been available on the Chinese black market for years, which may be another reason to consider lifting the ban.

Shares for Nintendo and Sony were up today on the prospect of the world's most populous country officially opening up its borders to gaming console hardware. The timing couldn’t be better with the recent release of the Wii U and the expected launches of new PlayStation and Xbox systems later this year.

That said, China Daily’s source notes that since the ban was issued by seven ministries more than a decade ago, a reversal of that decision will need approval from all seven ministries in order to happen.

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