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.
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!