With PS4 Launch Looming, China Expands Console Sale Rules

Manufacturing and sale of game consoles in China no longer limited to free-trade zones.

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The Chinese government announced this week that it has approved new guidelines to expand the sale of video game consoles in the country. The company will now allow for the manufacturing and sale of game consoles across the region, not just in Free-Trade Zones as was the original requirement.

According to a report from Bloomberg, local Chinese governments need to draft rules for game console business within their borders and submit them to the Ministry of Commerce by tomorrow, January 31.

The expansion of game console manufacturing and sale rules for China, a gamer-rich nation, could have major implications for game-makers such as Microsoft and Sony. Analysts estimate that China's video game industry could total $10 billion, while the country itself represents the world's second-largest economy.

Microsoft launched the Xbox One in China in September to sales of 100,000 units in one week. Meanwhile, Sony originally intended to launch the PlayStation 4 in the market on January 11, but later delayed the release.

A new release date for PS4 in China has not been announced, though Sony executives said previously that the launch snag should be overcome in short order. Nintendo, on the other hand, has not announced any plans to sell its game and consoles in China.

China banned game consoles in 2000, citing potential harm to the physical and mental development of children.

With more gamers in China than the total United States population, China is a potentially lucrative market for Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. However, the country's censorship rules could impact sales, though this remains to be seen.

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