China lifts its console ban – Kind of

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While a bunch of countries may not allow certain games past their borders, consoles are pretty much allowed to come in as they please. Unless its China. That massive country has had a 13 year ban on anything that they didn’t approve of. But its finally been lifted. Sort of.

Back in July, the State Council of China allowed and approved the formation of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, a zone which would help create jobs. And cash, mustn’t forget that. According to section 3, article 7 of the FTZ policy on video games that Kotaku picked up on, this new zone and cash cow means that consoles can once again hit Chinese markets legally:

7, Video game consoles, entertainment systems sales and services (National Economic Industry Classification: F Wholesale and Retail — 5179 Other machinery and electronic product whole sale)
Opening Steps: Video game and entertainment equipment manufacture and retail are now permitted, pending cultural department inspection and approval of video game and entertainment devices that can be sold to the domestic market.P

However, sales of the devices and games need to have approval from various government departments, and potentially any games that deal with Chinese culture will be examined far more thoroughly under the ministry of culture.

What this means, the way I read this ambiguous text, is that consoles are allowed in, provided that they jump through several bureaucratic and legal hoops. Still, whatever comes of this most likely won’t have too much of an impact on the Chinese gray markets. Resourceful fans can pick up whichever Western/Japanese console suits their fancy, and there’s bound to be a few knock-offs available later in the year as well.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a game of Grant’s Thievery Mechanical 5 to go finish on my Bombay Station 5.

Last Updated: September 30, 2013

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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