Gaming Consoles Legal in China After 15-Year Ban

Irony is when a country manufactures every major gaming console on the market, but bans its citizens from owning one. All of that is set to change, however. According to The Wall Street Journal, China will finally be lifting this 15-year ban. The country’s Ministry of Culture will be allowing Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony to both manufacture and sell their gaming consoles everywhere in the country.

What this means for the industry

China had already made some modifications to its restrictions last year when the country allowed console manufacturers to operate in Shanghai’s free-trade zone. On September 29, 2015, Microsoft brought the Xbox One over. Sony then brought the Playstation 4 over on March 20 of this year.

By China opening the doors all across the country, console manufacturers now have a huge market to target all future gaming console sales.

Growing Fears of ‘Wasted Youth’ in China Brought About the Ban

Gaming consoles were originally banned in China all the way back in 2000. Many parents believed that gaming consoles would cause their children to waste too much of their time with the devices. As a result, the government believed the best plan of action would be to ban all companies and individuals from producing and selling electronic gaming equipment and accessories.

Of course, this didn’t stop people from gaming, nor did it fix the “problem” parents were hoping the ban to fix. Plug’n’play consoles were a legal alternative to gaming consoles, and many players (like Nintendo) released these alternatives to keep China gaming.

China’s Golden Age of Gaming

Even though the console ban isn’t strictly enforced, the ban has had a major effect on gaming culture in China. While it’s possible to obtain an illegal console through the gray market, most people are content with playing mobile games or games via the web. Now that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are able to get their consoles into the country via legal means, China will undoubtedly see a huge increase in the quality of games. The real question is, how long will it take before China decides to jump on the gaming console bandwagon?


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