China Is Lifting Ban On Video Game Console Sales
Chinese citizens will soon *officially* join the modern console gaming collective.
For the first time in 13 years, companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will be able to sell their consoles in China. The Chinese government has approved a new Free Trade Zone that will be established in Shanghai. If the aforementioned companies set up joint venture partnerships with established Chinese companies — like the agreement that Microsoft just signed with China’s BesTV New Media – then clear some hurdles with the Ministry of Culture, consoles and games will be officially available for purchase on the Chinese mainland.
This all seems to be a formality, to a point. The Hollywood Reporter points out that consoles have been relatively easy to find in China despite the 2000 ban. That said, allowing console makers to officially operate in China (marketing, PR, tournaments, China-specific SKUs) should help grow the gaming market significantly there.
Similar to how Hollywood has started giving China extra attention, will we see a shift in how Microsoft and Sony do business in the gaming space? It’s hard to ignore a new-ish multi-billion dollar market with hundreds of millions of potential customers.
This is only the latest in a series of events that have brought China further into the gaming fold. Tencent Holdings now has stakes in several U.S.-based publishers, including Activision, Epic Games, and Riot Games.
You can read a poorly translated copy of the FTZ announcement here.