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After 15 years, the Chinese government officially removed its ban on video game consoles. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, along with other smaller game console manufacturers will now be able to sell and manufacture video game consoles anywhere within China’s borders, after a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Culture.

Game consoles have been banned in China since the year 2000. In an interview with Kotaku, market researcher Lisa Hanson said, “The government thought [banning consoles] was the best way to protect Chinese youth from wasting their minds on video games, after a parental outcry.” However, we saw last year that China begun moving towards reversing their decision as restrictions eased up, and allowing console makers to sell within a “free trade zone” within Shanghai.

This open arms to console gaming is more in name than in execution, as the Chinese people have been mostly able to obtain video game consoles within shopping malls if they wanted to. Massive shopping sites like Taobao have been selling Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Wii U consoles. However now the restriction has been axed entirely, completely opening the market in both sales and public perception. The Xbox One even had an official launch in China last September. The Xbox One even saw some success, moving 100,000 units in the fist day alone.

Taobao selling PS4s

Interestingly, while console gaming practically killed the arcade gaming scene in the United State, arcade gaming has thrived in China thanks to the 15 year long console ban. Now Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft will have to cut through this market that has been mostly unopposed for a long time.

What is your reaction to this news? Do you think the market may change at all now that the Chinese people have become a more viable and lucrative demographic in the past few years? Do you think Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo will try catering to this massive new audience? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Bryan Heraghty

Staff Writer

Avid shooter and platformer fan. Coffee is the only power up I need. In the spare time I have I will listen to more podcasts than has scientifically been deemed healthy. Hit me up on Twitter if you ever want to chat with me about games, tech, or whatever.

  • BurntToShreds

    From my understanding, a lot of East Asian gaming has been centered around PC and free-to-play experiences for a while now. I often worry that, whenever consoles do in fact die out, these free-to-play titles are going to be the majority of games on PC both in the East and the West. Big-name companies are starting to produce their own f2p games and f2p games becoming more popular among smaller western devs.

  • Bryan Heraghty

    That’s definitely a valid concern. There’s no barrier of entry when the game is f2p. So naturally more people will be playing these games. If more people are playing these games, companies will prioritize them.

  • GDI

    Console games are some of the most artistic experiences in the world. It’s ironic that they banned them to begin with, with the country being the source of MMO gold farming and the worst F2P practices… which literally put video games right next to gambling.

    I was hoping this would resurrect single-player games in Asia (besides Japan) again. I don’t have much hope though and would fully expect them to just dump their current MMO and F2P catalog onto consoles.

  • I expect no major change in the industry over there initially, it will probably take the whole generation before we see what impact and place China will have in global console sales. On the plus side they’ll be well situated by the time the 9th gen consoles come out, assuming the Chinese market doesn’t implode by then.