Almost a year after the Chinese government shut down rumors that claimed they were planning on removing the ban on gaming consoles, the Chinese government is removing the ban on gaming consoles.
As of January 6th, the ban on purchasing or providing consoles has been temporarily lifted allowing new options for the law-abiding, console-curious Chinese gamer. Though a major handicap for gaming’s big three, the ban itself was widely considered to be in name only for the average consumer. If a Chinese citizen were determined enough, they could easily find consoles through many of the black/gray/shady import markets readily available throughout the country. The other (more legal) options were Chinese PC, mobile, and web games.
While many believe that the original ban’s censorship to protect Chinese youth from the corrupting influence of video games never adequately surfaced, others are concerned the restrictions still in place (such as censorship and blocked content) are going to be too great a burden on industry and gamers. A greatly delayed entry to market, lack of research and development, along with a thriving Android gaming scene also make the likelihood of an original Chinese console rather low.
Immediately following the announcement of the end of the ban, Nintendo’s stock jumped more than 10 percent, a fact the state-run newspaper, People’s Daily, was quick to pick up on. While it admitted there was much excitement over the legal change, it noted Nintendo should not expect a rescue from Chinese consumers. The nationalistic sentiments might be a bit premature, as the stock jump was a week before the government first announced a worrisome set of details for the regulations. Not only does the temporary ruling exist without any definite time frame, but all manufacturing must be completed in Shanghai’s Free Trade Area. If you add in the possibility for limitless future restrictions, inspections, and authorizations by undefined Chinese authorities, the outlook becomes quite hazy.