PlayStation 3 gets China approval, but no launch date yet

In spite of a decade-old ban on gaming consoles, Sony has received approval from Chinese regulators for the PlayStation 3.

Sony's PlayStation 3 has received approval from Chinese regulators on safety standards, leading to suggestions China may soon lift a ban on home gaming consoles.

According to Reuters, the China Quality Certification Center gave two models of the PlayStation 3 approval this July, with all electronic devices needing to pass the body's safety standards before they can be launched on the Chinese market.

The safety approval doesn't mean the console is coming to the country any time soon, however.

"This does not mean that we have officially decided to enter Chinese market," a Sony spokesperson told Reuters. "We recognize that China is a promising market so we will continuously study the possibility."

China's Ministry of Culture has banned gaming consoles in the country since 2000, saying they harm the well-being of young people, but Sony's latest console certification may signal a relaxation of the rules in the future.

Nevertheless, gaming is still available in China: smartphone and tablet devices are increasingly being used by gamers, while online gaming remains popular in the region.

Manufacturers are also able to launch gaming-style devices, as long as they're not branded as such. Lenovo, for instance, launched a motion-sensing device in China -- similar to that of Microsoft's Kinect -- marketing the product as an "exercise and entertainment machine," rather than a "games console".

Launching the PlayStation in China would be a boon for Sony. The company has struggled over the past few years with falling sales that have hit its bottom line, and a range of job cuts and factory closures .

However, the Tokyo-based electronics giant has seen its fiscal year picture brighten somewhat recently, thanks partly to its Sony Mobile division releasing a number of new smartphones.

 

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