There’s been talk about it for some time, but now it looks like it’s finally happening – China is set to allow Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo to sell consoles anywhere in its country, completely removing the 15-year-old ban. The ban had been partially removed last year when China allowed console manufacture and sales in the Shanghai area, but nowhere else.
China will now allow the production and sale of video game consoles throughout the country, according to a story in Fortune. The Ministry of Culture released a statement this week, stating that companies will now be allowed to manufacture and sell consoles anywhere in the country – and what a market it is, as it’s considered the third biggest gaming market in the world, mainly due to mobile sales.
The ban was originally put in place back in 2000 in an effort to protect children from the negative effects perceived with playing video games. In return, “gray markets’ were created that allowed consumers to import consoles through other means – although that process clearly isn’t needed now.
This follows China’s recent measures to alleviate the ban with the introduction of “foreign-invested enterprises” within its Free Economic Zone in Shanghai. However, with the lifting altogether, all sorts of games and systems can be sold, instead of working under that geographic limitation.
China is already becoming the biggest gaming market in the world – even bigger than the United States. A report from Newzoo indicates that its market could reach a whopping $22 billion by next year alone, which would surpass the $18 billion in online game sales made last year. Console sales may add to that, but so far sales of game consoles in China have been slow so far, according to Niko Partners.
So far, companies have already jumped on the initiative to sell consoles in China, with Microsoft selling more than 100,000 Xbox One units on its first day back in September. The PlayStation 4 has also been on sale for some time now, but now will see a bigger market across the entire country.
“I think this is huge for the industry! This broadens the market and will hopefully bring life to gamers in the region! Now they can game what they want, when they want!” said Caleb Soleb Gayle, owner of 2nd Opinion Productions.
We’ll see how the market fares over the next year, but it’s nice to see that China can finally get its game on – and without restrictions, no less.