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Report: Game consoles may soon be 'official' in China
Report: Game consoles may soon be 'official' in China
July 12, 2013 | By Mike Rose

July 12, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Game console manufacturers will soon be able to sell their hardware on the Chinese mainland, after 13 years of a console ban in the country, according to reports.

Video game consoles have been banned in China since 2000, following concerns from parents that such hardware was harming the physical and mental development of children.

However, a report earlier this week from South China Morning Post claimed that manufacturers would soon be given the option to sell consoles in China. Today, China Daily says it has confirmed the previous report with a couple of Ministry of Culture sources.

While the ban implemented in 2000 won't be fully lifted, companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will soon be able to apply to manufacture and sell game consoles through Shanghai's new free trade zone.

By agreeing to register with the new free trade zone initiative and build products within the region, this will allow foreign companies to promote and sell their products in China.

However, there's another hurdle to overcome for video game developers and publishers, according to the reports. Foreign companies must gain approval from the various related regulators before a game can be sold in China, as the government wants to make sure that content isn't too violent or politicially sensitive.

"The detailed information (on foreign game console companies' entry into China) is incorporated in the policy package for Shanghai's free trade zone," an official allegedly told China Daily.

Spokespeople for both Sony and Microsoft said that they were looking into the possibility of enabling the release of consoles, including the upcoming next-gen consoles, in China.

However, in real terms, game consoles and handhelds are available - alongside a wide variety of mainly pirated games - all over China at present, and it's unclear that official 'legality' will make any difference on a day to day basis.

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Aaron Brande
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I feel like the only person online in the "English speaking world" teaching people about the reality of consoles in China sometimes, but let me restate what I have posted elsewhere:

Every single console ever made has been available for sale in every single gaming shop in every single city across the entire country of China.

The lifting of the ban that no one here either knows or cares about will have very little effect on the local population, but perhaps a more significant effect on local industry in the one city of Shanghai.

Simon Carless
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We've added a paragraph to that effect, Aaron, and having been to Shanghai a few times and seen the massive array of consoles and software already available, I agree with you.

Sean Kiley
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So do the knock-off consoles start now, or are they already there?

Rosstin Murphy
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They're already there. In China, most of the consoles you can buy have been cracked in such a way that they can play pirated games. It's actually harder to find legitimate games to buy, because those have to be imported from Hong Kong or other Asian countries. If they start selling legitimate consoles in China, the price of legitimate goods should go down, and at least in areas like Shanghai people might start buying the real thing instead of the cracked stuff.

Dwayne Mason
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Yeah and when you buy a console from any shop in any mall, it usually comes pre-loaded with anywhere from 10 to 25 (or more) pirated games - already cracked and installed and ready to go on the HDD... So I assume that the new 'legal' consoles may have a very difficult task ahead of them to compete with this 'bargain buy' that is already so well entrenched.