China will be lifting its ban on video game consoles starting this year and allow them to be manufactured in Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone, a recent BBC report says. The ban lift comes as a major blessing to companies such as Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, all of which have recently begun promoting new gaming devices on the market.
“We recognize that China is a promising market…and will continuously study the possibility,” Sony said in an official statement.
In 2000, gaming consoles were collectively banned in China due to the government’s growing concerns over its “adverse” mental effects. The ban prevented consoles such as Playstation, Wii, and Xbox from being distributed in proper channels, but didn’t stop Chinese consumers from smuggling the consoles into the country.
Now, with the legal barriers effectively dismantled, major gaming companies can reasonably look forward to higher profits and revenues in the future. Whether the results will be immediate, however, remains to be seen.
“Lifting the ban is like ice melting – it won’t happen overnight,” iiMedia’s research head, Zhang Yi, cautioned. “There are still many obstacles. The most important one is approval from cultural departments.”
More information on the Chinese government’s reformed policy can be seen here.