China lifts 15-year games console ban

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 28 July 2015

China has lifted its ban on the production and sale of games consoles, imposed 15 years ago over concerns the country's children would waste time playing video games.

The news could lead to a massive sales boost for console manufacturers, in particular Sony (for its Playstation), Microsoft (Xbox) and Nintendo (Wii).

China's gaming market is estimated to be worth US$22.2 billion this year, according to gaming research firm Newzoo BV. SuperData Research claims China is second only to Japan in the Asian digital gaming market.

Consoles manufactured in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone can now be sold throughout China, according to the Ministry of Culture.

The latest rules are intended to promote technology development and a "healthy and progressive" entertainment environment, a Ministry notice said, adding the content of games will be subject to government censorship.

Sony and Microsoft say they plan to manufacture games consoles in the Shanghai zone with Chinese partners.

Created in 2013, the Shanghai trade zone allows foreign companies wider access to certain industries, along with greater ownership stakes and activities that are banned elsewhere in China.