Back in July, a Chinese newspaper reported on a proposed policy that would lift the long-time Chinese ban of video game consoles. The plan reportedly had the backing of the Chinese Premier.
This week, China officially announced that it has ended the console ban – but with a few caveats. The Wall Street Journal today reported that video game consoles can now be sold within the free-trade zone in Shanghai. Each console manufacturer that wishes to sell its hardware in Shanghai will have to seek approval from the Chinese Ministry of Culture.
The Shanghai free trade zone itself is new, and will grow over the next three years. According to the Journal report, the Chinese government gave no specific date for when consoles may be available inside the zone.
China’s console ban went into effect 13 years ago. At the time, the ban was promoted due to the political and violent content seen in some games. There is no word on whether the Ministry of Culture might call for censorship in some games, as other countries such as Australia have done.
Though consoles are banned in the country, the prohibition has made the country’s black market console sales some of the highest in the world. More relaxed rules on official console sales within the country could deal a blow to this black market and could help switch more Chinese gamers (who play games mostly on PC) to console gaming.