(Photo: Reuters/Brendan McDermid)
China officially announced today that the longtime ban on video games and consoles is lifted and they are now open to foreign market companies in their new free trade zone.
China state council came to the conclusion today, reported The Verge. Consoles and games will be allowed as long as they are approved by China's Ministry of Culture, and sales will be allowed across the country as long as production and sales operations are established in the free trade zone.
The ban initially occurred in 2000 because of fears video games impacted children in a negative way.
According to previous reports, games still made their way across the country via small stores and such, but there was no major distribution or marketing of the consoles throughout the country. The Black market was also a hub for secret gamers as well.
China was reportedly also making changes to their regulations on the Internet and could allow Facebook and Twitter, but most indications prove this info to be false.
Changes are expected to take place over the next three years as the government loosens bans on a number of other things.
The lift of the ban adds an interesting dynamic to the video game race between Xbox One, PS4, and the Wii U. The potential for the franchise to now reach hundreds of millions of former and first-time users who will be eager to purchase what was once banned is huge.
Right now they are working on the PS3 and the Xbox 360 coming through, and by the time that happens the PS4 and Xbox One will be selling throughout the world.
One more problem is China's censorship of the Internet. So much gaming takes place online these days, how will this factor in?
"And what of the internet? The Great Firewall of China is still up and running and it's stronger than ever before. China's Internet infrastructure isn't that great-will there be online components to the games? Will China require special servers and special versions which will cost game developers, publishers, and consequently, consumers more money?" said Eric Jou, a video game reporter for Kotaku who lives in China and is front and center on the talks.