Talk about rocking the boat - China is sinking the Titanic with this one. For the past 13 years, video game consoles have been banned in China, a huge potential market. Well, that console ban could be reversed soon.
According to the South China Morning Post, the Chinese government is expected to reverse its 13-year video game console ban. It's not all that simple though. Should the ban be lifted, there is one major stipulation: Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft must manufacture their hardware in Shanghai.
A source told SCMP that Chinese government documents state that foreign companies must register in the Shanghai free trade zone and get approval from "culture-related authorities" in order to sell their products domestically in China. “They still need approval from the culture ministry and other relevant government bodies for their products, which I think is reasonable, because the government wants to make sure the content of your games is not too violent or politically sensitive for young people,” said one of the sources.
This is potentially huge news for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo as it opens a market of hundreds of millions of new users. It is also a remarkably savvy piece of capitalism by the all-powerful Chinese Communist party that is seeking to gently ease the vast country into a more free market outlook.
The Shanghai manufacturing caveat is also a highly political move by the Chinese. It could have disastrous implications for Foxconn
, which currently manufactures for the console makers and Apple but which is based in Taiwan, a state that is much coveted by "Red China".
The opening of a new market in an as-yet undeveloped gaming environment will also see the major platform holders bolstering their New Gen offerings (Wii U, Xbox One and PS4) in the West by selling their previous gen machines to the new Chinese consumers.
Before going to ga-ga over this however, bear in mind this story from last November