China to end console ban - Report

New report claims country may end 13-year ban on sale of game consoles if they are made in Shanghai's new free-trade zone and approved by "culture-related authorities."

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According to a new report from the South China Morning Post, China may end its 13-year ban on the sale of game consoles, provided the systems are made in Shanghai's new free-trade zone.

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According to Chinese government documents, foreign console manufacturers like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft would also need approval from "culture-related authorities" to promote and sell their products in the country.

China enacted the console ban in 2000, blocking the sale of systems over concerns about potential harm to the physical and mental development of children.

"They still need approval from the culture ministry and other relevant government bodies for their products, which I think is reasonable, because the government wants to make sure the content of your games is not too violent or politically sensitive for young people," one source said.

Some consoles are available in China through black market sources, while touch-enabled devices and smartphones, like the iPhone and iPad, are allowed because they are not deemed gaming devices.

A Microsoft representative told GameSpot, "We are always evaluating how and where to expand Xbox availability to other parts of the world, but have no additional comment at this time." Representatives for Sony and Nintendo were not immediately available to comment.

The state-run China Daily reported at the end of January that the country's Ministry of Culture was holding discussions to consider ending the ban. The new Shanghai free-trade zone is endorsed by Premier Li Keqiang, who is reportedly interested in making the Chinese economy more open and available to the world at large.

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