China will finally lift a previous band and allow console makers, including foreign ones, to make and sell their video game consoles anywhere in the country.
This move would greatly benefit console makers such as Sony and Microsoft, as China is one of the largest video game markets in the world. Once the ban is no longer in place, Sony and Microsoft will be able to expand to the market in full force, which should significantly boost sales of their gaming consoles.
As the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports, the country's Ministry of Culture issued a statement earlier this week, announcing new rules that enable console makers—both foreign and domestic—to manufacture and sell consoles anywhere in the country.
So far, the country's regulators allowed foreign console makers to operate only in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, which severely limited their sales and growth potential. With the new rules, however, foreign console makers will no longer be limited to just one region and banned from the rest of the country.
This move marks a major milestone and it's also great news for gamers. While so far gamers often settled for PC and mobile video games because they didn't really have access to gaming consoles in the country, now they will finally be able to enjoy gaming on consoles such as Sony's PlayStation, Microsoft's Xbox or Nintendo's Wii.
For more than a decade, gaming companies faced all sorts of restrictions that severely limited access to the Chinese market. As a reminder, regulators in China enacted a console ban back in 2000, claiming that the measure would prevent potential negative effects consoles could have on the youth of the nation. A pilot test conducted last year saw some restrictions loosened up, and the Ministry of Culture now acknowledges that the test was successful.
Consequently, China will lift its ban and allow all console makers to operate anywhere in the country, without anymore limitations.
"This is great news for us," stated a spokeswoman for Sony Computer Entertainment, as cited by the WSJ. The spokeswoman further reiterated the company's commitment to the console business in the country.