Since 2000, dedicated video game consoles have been banned in China as a measure to protect the youth of the country. Pretty counter-intuitive, as PC gaming is such a boom.
This logical conflict may soon be resolved, according to a Chinese government source, who claims that the largely unenforced law could be taken off the books:
“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. However, since the ban was issued by seven ministries more than a decade ago, we will need approval from all parties to lift it.”
Despite the law, bootlegs and knockoffs of Wiis and PlayStation 3s are rampant. Some establishments even have console set-ups for customers to enjoy. The Chinese government uses Microsoft’s Kinect for educational and medical purposes, but it is not available to the population at large. Still, some companies maneuver around the ban to capitalize. In 2012, Lenovo released the Eedoo CT510 as an “exercise and entertainment machine,” which operates much like the Kinect. Nintendo released their portable DSi under the brand name “iQue” in 2009. The PlayStation 3, while still officially unavailable, has begun a process to be approved for distribution. Still, these types of devices only made up .1 percent of gaming-related revenue in China.
Plug-and-plays, mobile devices, and PC gaming remain legal platforms in the country. The latter constitutes 94.4 percent of gaming spending. Mobile gaming, while severely outperforming consoles, lags behind PC gaming, raking in 5 percent of the market.
Stock in Nintendo and Sony grew by 3.5 percent and 8 percent respectively on Tokyo’s Nikkei market as word broke that the most populous nations in the world may soon have a massive share of the console market.
What remains to be seen is whether Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo can make short work of the already-massive online gaming and piracy markets.