Despite its unprecedented economic boom, which it experienced right in the aftermath of the recession, when most other countries around the world were still mired in financial doom and gloom, China remains a paradox. That is to say, a country with incredible economic power continues to remain somewhat culturally closed-off, with a host of digital communication tools and gadgets still prohibited by the rulers in Beijing. One sores spot in this sense is the ban on gaming consoles, up for nearly thirteen years now. In 2000, China’s Minister of Culture decided that consoles might cause “potential harm to the physical and mental development of the young.”
Yet that situation might soon change for the better, say undisclosed sources within China’s current Ministry of Culture. The ban, which has been upheld by seven ministries over the course of more than a decade, has driven away powerful digital tech companies such as Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. The three giants have made repeated attempts since 2000 to find ways to sidestep the ban which says there shall be no sales, production, and/or imports of consoles on the Chinese market. They may have a way in now, when, official sources say, the government is undergoing a shift in attitude on the matter. According to international analysts, the console producers are ready and willing to enter the Chinese market and are simply waiting for official approval to do so. Since the wait has been long and the stakes are high, it’s within reason to expect the console industry’s major players to jump right in, when given the opportunity.
A ban that has been in place for well over a decade cannot be overturned within one day, of course. As such, the same source, who chose to preserve its anonymity, explained that an annulment of the ban is in the making right now, to put it in optimistic terms. All parties will need to be consulted and express their approval on the matter before a clear-cut decision is reached. At the moment, according to statements made to China Daily, the policy is being reviewed, surveys are being conducted, and are consultations are being held, in order to determine whether such a decision would be appropriate.
Signs from console producers are also cropping up left and right: in June 2012, Sony Computer Entertainment, which is a subsidiary of Sony PlayStation, set up a research, development, and training facility in the province of Guangdong. No official statement has been issued, regarding the production of consoles at the facility. Similarly, the Kinect game console from Microsoft, has been available on the Chinese market since October 2012. According to the Asia-Pacific Research and Development branch of Microsoft Corporation, however, the console is strictly being used for medical and educational purposes in China – no gaming allowed.
The above two cases are just a couple of examples of strategies that companies in the field have used, in order to find loopholes in China’s legal system. Nintendo was selling their iQue game controller device in China as early as 2003. It allowed users to hook up the controller to the TV and play numerous games. Opening up the market legally, however, will definitely prove to be a major game changer, which Chinese gamers and the rest of the world are all awaiting with just as much eagerness.
Author Bio:- Jerry Dobson is a single father who loves playing casual games on www.ArcyDarty.com together with his daughter. He is currently living in Seoul and making a living as a copywriter and editor, while also working on his upcoming book of fiction.