Ever since 2000, the Chinese government has banned all game consoles from being sold or purchased within the country. If you wanted to buy a console, you typically had to go through the black market. To think, something as mundane as an Xbox or PlayStation, treated like illicit narcotics or human organs of dubious origin.
According to the seven government ministries who originally agreed on the ban, this was due to concern over the effects such games might have on young people. Those in China who could not afford or were unwilling to risk black market transactions tended toward PC and smartphone gaming. Yet on Friday the Wall Street Journal reported that China is to revoke its more than decade-long ban on consoles.
Consoles may now be sold in free-trade zones in Shanghai. While it’s unclear when exactly this will take effect, the Chinese State Council has given permission to foreign companies operating within the free-trade zones to produce and sell their products across China. Obviously, this opens up an enormous, previously untapped market to companies like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. Whether consoles will be able to dethrone PCs as China’s primary gaming platform is yet to be seen.