China Lifts 15-Year Ban on Consoles

Steven Bogos

The Taco Man
Jan 17, 2013
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China Lifts 15-Year Ban on Consoles


China's Ministry of Culture has finally lifted its ban on sale and manufacture of video game consoles.

Almost two years ago [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/125860-China-Prepares-to-End-Console-Ban] we reported that China was "getting ready" to end it's then-13-year ban on the sale and manufacture of video game consoles in the country. Of course China being China, the process was caught up in a near-endless loop of bureaucracy, but we are happy to announce that today the matter has finally come to a close, with China's Ministry of Culture announcing a full lift on the ban.

Console manufacturers like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft will now be allowed to manufacture and sell video game consoles anywhere in the country.

The ban was first instated way back in 2000, when the Ministry of Culture had fears that consoles would have a negative effect on the mental and physical development of children. The ban stood firm for 14 years, until last year when it waned just a little [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/128223-China-To-Relax-Console-Sale-Ban] to allow console manufacturers to peddle their wares inside Shanghai's "free trade zone".

Now that the floodgates are open, you can bet that the big three will all start vying for the previously untapped Chinese market. The only question is will the Chinese, who, due to the ban, have been pushed into PC and mobile gaming for the last 15 years, be willing to put a strange little box under their TV?

Source: Wall Street Journal [http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-to-end-ban-on-videogame-consoles-1437813695]


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praetor_alpha

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Mar 4, 2010
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Eric the Orange said:
I wonder how they plan to deal with China's famously rampant piracy.
When it's easier to buy things than pirate (and at reasonable prices), people tend to buy. Not being restricted to the black market makes things easier.
 

Scytail

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Jan 26, 2010
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Whelp, there goes the Western world market. Southeast Asian everything now! Good thing all you have to do is upturn the corner on every edge and magically Asian. San Frantokyo here we come.
 

Zontar

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Feb 18, 2013
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praetor_alpha said:
Eric the Orange said:
I wonder how they plan to deal with China's famously rampant piracy.
When it's easier to buy things than pirate (and at reasonable prices), people tend to buy. Not being restricted to the black market makes things easier.
But Chinese consumers don't exactly have the wealth that the markets the big three usually fight in do. Hacking and piracy are already a massive problem on the PC market when China is concerned (to say nothing of the gold farming). I think it's a moot point though, since I find it unlikely they'll manage to penetrate the market any more then they have in Hong Kong and Macau, where the things where pretty much already sold and never made much of an impact, and that was in places where the per person income was much higher then the norm for urban areas.

Plus as a whole East Asia is moving away from consoles even in traditionally large markets for them like Japan. Console gaming is becoming more and more of a Western thing since we seem to be the last ones holding onto it.
 

Colt47

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Oct 31, 2012
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Zontar said:
praetor_alpha said:
Eric the Orange said:
I wonder how they plan to deal with China's famously rampant piracy.
When it's easier to buy things than pirate (and at reasonable prices), people tend to buy. Not being restricted to the black market makes things easier.
But Chinese consumers don't exactly have the wealth that the markets the big three usually fight in do. Hacking and piracy are already a massive problem on the PC market when China is concerned (to say nothing of the gold farming). I think it's a moot point though, since I find it unlikely they'll manage to penetrate the market any more then they have in Hong Kong and Macau, where the things where pretty much already sold and never made much of an impact, and that was in places where the per person income was much higher then the norm for urban areas.
The primary benefit is cheaper labor more than a new market to sell stuff in. China is heavily dependent on exports at the moment to make any cash.
 

Pirate Of PC Master race

Rambles about half of the time
Jun 14, 2013
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As a person who was raised in the country with dominant PC gaming, this will be incredibly difficult sell.

Due to the cost of the console, unfamiliar exclusive games and new controls, they will have hard time adjusting to the new country.

I expect sales to be like hitting the brick wall for at least 2 years.
 

Zontar

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Feb 18, 2013
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Colt47 said:
Zontar said:
praetor_alpha said:
Eric the Orange said:
I wonder how they plan to deal with China's famously rampant piracy.
When it's easier to buy things than pirate (and at reasonable prices), people tend to buy. Not being restricted to the black market makes things easier.
But Chinese consumers don't exactly have the wealth that the markets the big three usually fight in do. Hacking and piracy are already a massive problem on the PC market when China is concerned (to say nothing of the gold farming). I think it's a moot point though, since I find it unlikely they'll manage to penetrate the market any more then they have in Hong Kong and Macau, where the things where pretty much already sold and never made much of an impact, and that was in places where the per person income was much higher then the norm for urban areas.
The primary benefit is cheaper labor more than a new market to sell stuff in. China is heavily dependent on exports at the moment to make any cash.
China's not exactly the in place for cheap labour right now though, that would be the nations to its south. In fact China's export manufacturing is undergoing a labour shortage of all things, since they can't afford to raise wages due to the margins they have, but other sectors of the economy are grabbing up the workers due to their ability to pay higher wages.
 

Albino Boo

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Zontar said:
China's not exactly the in place for cheap labour right now though, that would be the nations to its south. In fact China's export manufacturing is undergoing a labour shortage of all things, since they can't afford to raise wages due to the margins they have, but other sectors of the economy are grabbing up the workers due to their ability to pay higher wages.
Actually China's economy is not in good shape right now. Factory gate prices and falling and Chinese imports of raw materials are crashing. The Chinese government is trying to move away from the export lead growth model into domestic consumption. Lifting the ban on consoles is more about creating a new domestic market for Chinese made consumer electronics.
 

Steven Bogos

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Jan 17, 2013
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I wonder if any console maker's stock is going to skyrocket, I think Sony or Nintendo has a better shot.
 

infohippie

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inu-kun said:
I wonder if any console maker's stock is going to skyrocket, I think Sony or Nintendo has a better shot.
I think it's more likely a homegrown console will appear, rather than Chinese consumers buying Japanese consoles.
 

Bad Jim

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Eric the Orange said:
I wonder how they plan to deal with China's famously rampant piracy.
Well the first step is to make legitimate purchases legal. I think the Chinese should be given a chance. Piracy in countries like Russia got better when Steam sales became a thing and they could buy games for reasonable prices not something like a months salary. And even during the ban, there was a thriving black market in legitimate copies of games.
 

dochmbi

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Eric the Orange said:
I wonder how they plan to deal with China's famously rampant piracy.
Easy, just release games on PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U only. None of those platforms have been hacked so far, there is no homebrew games available nor can you play "backups".
 

Albino Boo

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Jun 14, 2010
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Bad Jim said:
Eric the Orange said:
I wonder how they plan to deal with China's famously rampant piracy.
Well the first step is to make legitimate purchases legal. I think the Chinese should be given a chance. Piracy in countries like Russia got better when Steam sales became a thing and they could buy games for reasonable prices not something like a months salary. And even during the ban, there was a thriving black market in legitimate copies of games.
China has no domestic music industry because of rampant piracy. People had the opportunity to buy legitimately but they did not. The problem is that no action is taken against those making a profit from piracy. This because of rampant corruption in the CCP. Party officials are either paid off or its relatives of the officials profiting from the piracy. You can buy legitimate Apple products in China but that does not stop the existence of entire chains of fake Apple stores.
 

FalloutJack

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Nov 20, 2008
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Good. Let's send them back all their stink bugs in imported console boxes.
 

Fdzzaigl

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Mar 31, 2010
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I don't expect the Chinese to mass purchase consoles now. Most of the Chinese gamers I know aren't very interested in that kind of game anyhow.

As for piracy: if people are in a more comfortable financial situation to buy games and have an easy way to obtain them, they will.
 

BeerTent

Resident Furry Pimp
May 8, 2011
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dochmbi said:
Eric the Orange said:
I wonder how they plan to deal with China's famously rampant piracy.
Easy, just release games on PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U only. None of those platforms have been hacked so far, there is no homebrew games available nor can you play "backups".
Oh how lovely it is to be so naive.

You might be true on the homebrew part. Those do take quite some time. But these things get modchips and cracks essentially out of the gate. All it takes is a google search, and I found 8 chips. That being said, the PS4 seems to be the luckiest so far, as the most I can find are modified parts for longevity.

But dem chips baby, you just can't have one. I can assure you, there's already parts of china that has these consoles. If I were them? I wouldn't pay money to get a downgraded machine in the name of legitimacy. The big 3 are not going to have fun trying to sell these consoles in that market.
 

Alar

The Stormbringer
Dec 1, 2009
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I hope they start with earlier consoles and work their way up! :D
 

MCerberus

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Jun 26, 2013
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Maybe with the loosening of restrictions for hardware, China will also be able to export its most famous console,

the Polystation.
Or that old Russian knockoff of the NES, though I forget the name of that one.