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China temporarily lifts ban on foreign video game console sales

updated 07:11 pm EST, Wed January 8, 2014

Foreign consoles to go on sale in China for first tie in 14 years

China is allowing the sale of foreign game consoles in the country for the first time in over a decade. The country's government temporarily lifted the ban on Monday, opening the door to sales of recent game consoles such as Microsoft's Xbox One, the Sony PlayStation 4, and the Nintendo Wii U to its citizens, though it is not clear how long sales will be permitted for.

The ban was initially put in place by the Chinese government in 2000, with reports in January last year suggesting that the Ministry of Culture was reviewing the policy, with it claiming to hold "discussions with other ministries on the possibility of opening up the game console market." Sales of foreign consoles were stopped as an attempt to protect the physical and mental development of children in China, though this appears to be less of an issue today.

Sony PlayStation 4
Sony PlayStation 4

The BBC reports that console manufacturers will be permitted to make consoles within Shanghai's free trade zone, with sales to China to begin after the consoles are inspected by cultural departments. Sony responded to the news, stating that it recognizes china as "a promising market," and that it "will continuously study the possibility, but there is no concrete plan at this stage."

The gaming market in China for 2013 is estimated to be worth 83 billion yuan ($13 billion), even with the ban in place. Even though there is an active gray market for console sales in the country, PC gaming is said to make up two thirds of the overall gaming market. It is highly likely that this will erode once consoles are permitted for sale, though it is difficult to suggest by how much.

by MacNN Staff



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