After 13-year ban, China to allow game console sales

The country says its Ministry of Culture will need to approve each game console, but the devices would be made available across the country.

Microsoft/Sony

Gamers in China have won a key victory they've been after for years: the ability to buy consoles.

China's State Council, the country's top decision maker, announced on Friday that companies could eventually start selling game consoles across China. In order to get the hardware on store shelves, however, the companies would need to have their devices approved by the Ministry of Culture. It's not clear what might cause a particular console to be banned from sale.

The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the news.

China has banned consoles since 2000, when the country decided the game devices were causing irreparable harm to children and adolescents. Some consoles found their way into homes through the black market, but the majority of gamers in the country spend time on PCs because of the ban.

For console makers, China presents a massive opportunity. The country is watching its consumer market explode, making it a huge opportunity for device makers. The hard part now, however, might be actually getting China to approve the consoles.

The allowance of game console sales is part of a broader set of rules related to the new free-trade zone in Shanghai. Those rules will be enacted over the next three years, meaning it could be a while before consoles make it to store shelves.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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