- (Photo: AP Images / Richard Vogel)
China is in the process of lifting its 13-year video game ban, which has console developers clamoring to see who takes advantage of the new market first. However, reports indicate that lifting the ban may not matter so much.
According to Kotaku.com, all consoles and video games will have to enter the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, which still remains unclear as to what that means for game designers.
Another key factor for the game developers to try and break through is the censorship of China. All games and consoles will have to be checked out thoroughly and allowed into China.
The ban was initially set in place to prevent what they deemed, "dangerous" video games infiltrating the youth.
Also, the by the time these checks go through, the market will be different. 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.
Video games are not a total loss in China. According to the China Morning Post, games still made their way across the country via small stores and the gray market, but there was no major distribution or marketing of the consoles throughout the country. 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.
The question to be asked is whether the people of China will be willing to purchase old hardware and consoles for close to the price of the newer ones.
The ball is in Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft's court, how will they play.