China lifts 13-year console ban

Nation to end ban on sale of game consoles as part of establishment of new free-trade zone in Shanghai.


Confirming earlier reports, the Chinese government has announced that it will end the 13-year ban on the sale of video game consoles in the country.

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As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the news was announced today by the country's high-ranking State Council as part of the establishment of a new free-trade zone in Shanghai.

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Foreign companies that operate sales and production within the new trade zone will be able to sell products throughout China, so long as they are approved by the Ministry of Culture.

Though consoles are officially banned in China, The Wall Street Journal points out that they have been readily available through "unofficial channels" like private retail outlets in malls.

The news comes after Microsoft announced this week an investment of $237 million into a joint venture with Chinese TV company BesTV in the free-trade zone to create "family games and related services."

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. Touch-enabled devices and smartphones, like the iPhone and iPad, are allowed because they are not deemed gaming devices.

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