China’s long-standing ban on video game consoles is coming to an end.
The China Daily is reporting that two Chinese government officials have confirmed earlier reports that an end to the ban was being considered.
This may not be a massive windfall for video game console manufacturers for a variety of reasons, but there’s no doubt that the world’s most populous nation represents a real opportunity for growth for Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft and their respective consoles.
If console makers and game publishers can capitalize on the free-to-play model—something typically associated with PC and mobile gaming—the potential for growth in Asia, and especially in China, could be enormous.
Of course, shifting gears from a pay-to-play model to a freemium model isn’t going to be easy and it isn’t going to happen over night. Still, with the Xbox One and PS4 both embracing more diverse revenue models, the Chinese market is certainly within reach, more so now than ever before.
The ban isn’t being revoked entirely, of course. Manufactuerers will need to sign on to China’s new Shanghai free trade zone.
Still, something is better than nothing, even if penetrating the Chinese video game market—where free-to-play and piracy rein supreme—proves to be a puzzle in and of itself.
Welcome to the party, Chinese gamers.