China to lift 13-year ban on video game console sales

By on September 27, 2013, 5:00 PM

China has now officially approved proposals that will see the 13 year ban on the sale of gaming consoles come to an end, opening up a massive market for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to tap into.

The console ban was put in place back in 2000 due in large part to concerns regarding the influence violent and mature games could have on Chinese youth. Back at the beginning of this year, and then later in the summer, rumors surfaced regarding China lifting the long running ban.

The approved plans that will lead to lifting the ban are part of a broader proposal surrounding the free-trade zone located in Shanghai. This is the same zone where the State Council was once reported to be lifting bans on Facebook and Twitter, but there was no talk of relaxed internet access in the latest reports.

Game developers and game console retailers must be set-up within the free-trade zone, and pending official approval they will be able to sell their products to the mainland market. Microsoft is already jumping on board, having struck up a deal with Chinese company BesTV to develop games in the free trade zone.

With the free trade zone in Shanghai set to launch on September 29, the lifting of the ban could amount to billions of dollars in revenue for the game industry, according to analysts. China's game industry brought in around $9.7 billion last year, a number expected to climb as high as $21.7 billion by 2017.

Even with such high expectations on the Chinese game market, with a customer base who has now grown up on PC and mobile gaming experiences, many are questioning how well the consoles will latch on in the region.

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