Good news for all our readers living in China – the 13 year long console ban may finally be lifted. The rumor also could mean big things for Sony and Nintendo, whose shares have risen as a result.
Back in 2000, China banned the sale and import of game consoles over fears of the potential harm to the physical and mental development of young children. Now, China Daily believes that the silly ban could be lifted soon.
A source from the Ministry of Culture allegedly said:
We are reviewing the policy and have conducted some surveys and held discussions with other ministries on the possibility of opening up the game console market. However, since the ban was issued by seven ministries more than a decade ago, we will need approval from all parties to lift it.
Officially, the ministry has denied the rumor.
At the end of last year, the PS3 officially passed Chinese certification tests, meaning that, if the ban wasn’t in place, it could be sold almost immediately. Sony Computer Entertainment also opened an R&D branch in South China’s Guangdong province last June, suggesting Sony is making sure they are prepared for any new ruling.
Satoshi Fukuoka, a spokesman for Sony’s game unit, told Bloomberg:
Sony has always regarded China as a promising market for the game operation and has been studying and preparing for possible business opportunities.
As the rumor spread, Sony’s shares jumped an incredible 8% and Nintendo’s went up 3.5%, despite an overall weak Nikkei.
Currently, PS3s, Wiis and 360s are available on the black market – but at higher prices, and games publishers and platform holders aren’t able to advertise their products. With China fast becoming Apple’s most lucrative market, it’s understandable why Sony would benefit greatly from a lift of the ban.