China temporarily suspends video game console ban

By Kyle Johnson,

China has announced that it will be temporarily suspending its ban on video game consoles that was enacted back in 2000.

Consoles were originally banned 14 years ago as the country feared mental health issues would arise, reports Variety. The lift on the ban could lead to increased sales for the big three console makers, Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft just as the next generation of consoles has started.

Of course, it won't necessarily be easy for the foreign game makers as many in China have never known anything in video games other than mobile and free PC games, according to Reuters. Sales of available video games has been booming however, up to $14 billion in 2013, which is an increase of nearly 33 percent from 2012.

Research firm Gartner Research Director Roger Sheng said, "If Sony and Microsoft want to expand in China they need to think of changing their business model, and study the success of Internet gaming market providers where games are free but they charge money from operating games."

Price could also be an issue for foreign console makers as most who play games in China do not have large budgets, making about $634 (4,000 yuan) a month. The new video game consoles retail for $500 and $400 for the Xbox One and Playstation 4, respectively.

Sony and Nintendo both sounded cautious about selling their products in China, with Sony Computer Entertainment spokesman Satoshi Nakajima saying, "We do recognize that China is a promising market, and we will continue to study the possibility," while Nintendo noted it was unsure of what it will do.

image: Amazon

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