More than 1.3 billion people live in China. That’s a big market that’s hard to ignore. But since seven different Chinese ministries enacted bans on gaming consoles in 2000, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft have not choice but to ignore it.
Now, some sources are murmuring about the Chinese government potentially lifting the console ban. A culture ministry source reportedly told news website China Daily that the embargo is on the way out.
“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,” the unnamed source said. “However, since the ban was issued by seven ministries more than a decade ago, we will need approval from all parties to lift it.”
The fact that seven different ministries are all involved in the decision-making process is one of the main reasons that regional analyst Lisa Cosmas Hanson of Niko Partners is doubtful the ban will dissolve any time soon.
“We do not believe the government will overturn the ban in the immediate term,” Hanson told GamesBeat. “We have heard from our own sources over the years that the ministries do consider lifting the ban on consoles, but that much work would need to happen in order to make it official. The Ministry of Culture has authority over consoles yet other ministries also are involved with imports, trades, game hardware, computer hardware that has powerful processors within, and more.”
In other words, the bureaucracy is too big to handle all the required bureaucracy.
China originally shunned console games based on the claim that the medium can have damaging effects on young children.
That doesn’t mean China is without games. Millions of people in that nation spend hours and hours playing PC and mobile games. World of Warcraft is of particular popularity in the country.
Since the economic blockade took effect in 2000, China’s economic situation has changed drastically. Far more citizens of the tightly controlled nation can now afford something like a gaming console thanks to the blossoming economy.