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China allows shipments of foreign games consoles for the first time

China has reportedly lifted its 14-year ban on video game sales, if only temporarily.

According to Reuters, the government has made good on its plan to allow companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to peddle their products in the region.

Today's announcement comes about three months after China's State Council approved rules to allow for the sale of game consoles as part of a new free-trade zone within Shanghai. But, assuming the Ministry of Culture approves each device, gadget makers could conceivably sell their machines across the country.

The console ban was put into effect in 2000 in an effort to protect the "physical and mental development" of China's youth. But the ban isn't strongly enforced, nor has it curbed gaming in the region.

China boasted nearly £8.5 billion in video game revenues last year, based predominantly on PC titles; browser and mobile games accounted for a combined 30 percent of the market, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, most teens have grown up without a PlayStation, Xbox, or Wii.

The Chinese State Council did not specify for how long the ban will be lifted. But according to Reuters, the suspension will permit "foreign-invested enterprises" to make consoles within Shanghai's free trade zone and sell them in the country, barring inspection by cultural departments.

Reports of a console ban suspension first emerged almost a year ago, before talk of unfettered access to Facebook, Twitter, and the New York Times as part of that Shanghai free-trade zone.

The seeming relaxation comes just months after the State Information Office announced that mobile apps failing to comply with stringent censorship policies will be banned, effectively closing one of the few cracks in the Great Firewall.