China considers lifting ban on game consoles

The Chinese government’s Ministry of Culture is reviewing its policy on game consoles with a possible lift on their decade long-ban being considered, China Daily has reported.

"We are reviewing the policy and have conducted some surveys and held discussions with other ministries on the possibility of opening up the game console market," revealed an unnamed source within the ministry.

The ban was first instituted back in 2000 after seven separate committees agreed that video games posed too great a threat to the physical and mental well-being of the young.

"Since the ban was issued by seven ministries more than a decade ago, we will need approval from all parties to lift it," the source explained.

Global console vendors including Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have made several attempts to enter this untapped market since the bans initiation, finding an audience within China’s grey market.

Furthermore, Sony’s PlayStation division set up a regional headquarters in South China's Guangdong province in June 2012. Microsoft also managed to make inroads via its controller-free Kinect peripheral which hit Chinese shelves in October of last year.

"Kinect's entry into China does not mean Microsoft's game console has come to China,” said Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific research and development chairman, Zhang Yaqin. “It needs government's approval."

Domestic firms also have a vested interest in the outcome of the Ministry of Culture’s deliberations. Eedoo Technology, a Lenovo subsidiary, launched its own console in April last year under the guise of an ‘entertainment and sports machine’.

Image credit: Flickr (Marc van der Chijs)