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China lifts 14-year-old ban on gaming consoles

By Charles Riley  @CRrileyCNN January 8, 2014: 2:06 AM ET

 

China has lifted its longtime ban on video game consoles, opening a lucrative new market for manufacturers including Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft.

 

The State Council said in a statement that it will now allow consoles to be manufactured in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, an experimental testing ground for economic reform.

 

China had implemented a blanket restriction on the manufacture and sale of consoles and games in 2000, denying gaming companies access to the world's most populous nation. Chinese officials had cited worries over violent content and the potential for moral decay in explaining the ban.

 

Nintendo shares jumped more than 10% in Tokyo, while Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) added 1%. Sony (SNE), which had unveiled a new streaming game service in Las Vegas, was flat in New York trading on Tuesday.

With the ban in place, Chinese gamers keen to try consoles were forced to rely the black market to find the latest hardware. Controversial game titles -- which are still frequently banned by the government -- were also available from underground suppliers.

 

Yet the restrictions did little to slow the proliferation of PC, online and mobile gaming in China, all of which flourished in the absence of console-based entertainment.

It's not yet clear whether manufacturers will embrace the Shanghai experiment.

 

While most video game consoles are already manufactured by contractors based in China, the new rule requires units sold domestically in China to be built in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. The requirement could force manufacturers to shift supply chains and open new facilities in order to sell in China.

 

There is also no guarantee the rule change will stick. The State Council described the repeal as "temporary" and regulators will need to approve foreign products.

Still, the rule change suggests the government is moving forward with reforms in Shanghai.

 

The city's free trade zone -- 29 square kilometers in area -- is an experiment in promoting trade, expanding foreign investment access and liberalizing the financial sector, all of which are tightly controlled and regulated now by the government.

 

China's general framework for the area includes expanded foreign access in industries that previously placed heavy restrictions on outside companies, including banking.

 

http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/08/technology/china-video-games/

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Pretty huge

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So the consoles have to made in one area of China in order to sold there? Doesn't sound fair.

Sounds like we need import tariffs on Chinese built electronic components to level the playing field.

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i honestly wonder if this is going to cause a break in the console firmware to be faster than it has in the past. I hope that we do not end up with another catastrophe for the PS3 like we did when Geohot released codes for it which essentially broke any online game for the console.

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Yet the restrictions did little to slow the proliferation of PC, online and mobile gaming in China, all of which flourished in the absence of console-based entertainment.

 

Seems like a pretty pointless ban then, tbh.

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Even though I think it was only a media-based company, Microsoft may have always be planning on this happening and used that partnership as foothold into the industry over there?  Either way, I'm not sure how much this would help sales for the big three as China isn't exactly well known for its respect for copyright..

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Even though I think it was only a media-based company, Microsoft may have always be planning on this happening and used that partnership as foothold into the industry over there?  Either way, I'm not sure how much this would help sales for the big three as China isn't exactly well known for its respect for copyright..

 

Well they'll buy Microsoft products over the Japanese company's. 

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the Chinese probably will try to reverse engineer the foreign console first, and if that was a success, they will start creating their own game consoles.

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So the consoles have to made in one area of China in order to sold there? Doesn't sound fair.

 

Yes, but Xbox One already makes the consoles in China and PS4 builds some there too already so its not too big a deal.

 

It sounds like they are trying to make the free-trade zone a separate economy zone to the rest of China (So an open economy rather than a controlled economy), I've read elsewhere that the consoles will only be sold inside the free-trade zone also.

 

BF4 has already been banned in China also due to the Shanghai Rising DLC and they limit the amount of US movies which are allowed to be screened at the cinemas in China. China just does things differently, I think China will become a major market for consoles if they continue to allow it (its only a temp things atm).

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China will soon be lifting its ban on video game consoles and while that's certainly a good thing, the Shanghai government just released a comprehensive list of content restrictions for game makers looking to release their products in the Asian state.
 
On the no-fly list are:
 
  • Gambling-related content or game features
  • Anything that violates China?s constitution
  • Anything that threatens China?s national unity, sovereignty, or territorial integrity.
  • Anything that harms the nation?s reputation, security, or interests.
  • Anything that instigates racial/ethnic hatred, or harms ethnic traditions and cultures.
  • Anything that violates China?s policy on religion by promoting cults or superstitions.
  • Anything that promotes or incites obscenity, drug use, violence, or gambling.
  • Anything that harms public ethics or China?s culture and traditions.
  • Anything that insults, slanders, or violates the rights of others.
  • Other content that violates the law

Well, that's pretty broad and ripe for abuse, no?

 
On the bright side, the approval process for games (which, according to Game in Asia, "refers to the local Shanghai government culture department, not the probably-more-strict national Ministry of Culture") will take no longer than 20 days and games that are refused will be returned with "the reason for their rejection clearly stated" so that developers can address the issues and resubmit.
 
On a side note, Game in Asia points to a reader poll where the most popular reaction to the new guidelines is "As soon as I saw the rules, I lost hope." As of this writing, there are less than 250 respondents so take the results as you will.
 
Source: Game in Asia via Kill Screen Daily

 

 

http://gamepolitics.com/2014/04/22/china-details-copious-restrictions-video-game-content#.U1ek2PmSy7o

 

 

Wow. What a great leap forward for gaming in China.

 

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Well what did anyone expect? not really the best government to point to for its 'freedoms' and 'open markets'

Still, even with all of the restrictions, Sony and MS are going to push hard to get their stuff in there. there are just too many potential customers not to try.

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Bet it's still easier to launch a game there compared to Australia :p

 

On the bright side, the approval process for games (which, according to Game in Asia, "refers to the local Shanghai government culture department, not the probably-more-strict national Ministry of Culture") will take no longer than 20 days and games that are refused will be returned with "the reason for their rejection clearly stated" so that developers can address the issues and resubmit.

 

Great move that the West could really learn from (Y)

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Bet it's still easier to launch a game there compared to Australia :p

 

 

Great move that the West could really learn from (Y)

Doesn't the ESRB offer reasons for rejection when a game does not pass?

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Doesn't the ESRB offer reasons for rejection when a game does not pass?

 

AFAIK, in the West (or maybe it's US in particular), the ratings boards like ESRB and MPAA are very secretive about their systems and how they decide on what ratings are awarded. Unless you are lining their pockets, of course :P

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Easier for them to just learn english and just import the game.

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AFAIK, in the West (or maybe it's US in particular), the ratings boards like ESRB and MPAA are very secretive about their systems and how they decide on what ratings are awarded. Unless you are lining their pockets, of course :p

I don't know about other ratings boards, but the ESRB site and info on the web seem to be more open about it including how publishers can appeal ratings based on the feedback they get.

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I don't know about other ratings boards, but the ESRB site and info on the web seem to be more open about it including how publishers can appeal ratings based on the feedback they get.

 

It might have changed in recent years then. Last time I looked into it they were useless about helping devs to get the ratings they wanted.

 

I know for 100% that the MPAA won't (or didn't in the past) tell you a thing about why you were rated AO, X or NC-17 etc. You just had to make changes/cuts until it passed :no:

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Sounds like the only thing you might be able to release in china is tetris.

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"Anything that promotes or incites obscenity, drug use, violence, or gambling."

 

Mario Kart and soon to be released Prince of Persia 2D where you pick mushrooms won't step over these rules, can't say the same about the rest of the games including most of the AAA titles.

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As someone who lived in mainland China for over four years i can tell you this is a load of BS. Unless things have really changed (and i know they haven't from being in contact with people), it's just as easy to get games and hardware as it is anywhere else. There are streets in Beijing lined with so many gaming stores, it looks like a non-stop E3. Of course it's all semi-official, they pay taxes and have licenses, just the licenses say "toys and electronics" with no mention of gaming. Authorities look the other way as they know trying to enforce this so-called ban would lead to riots on the streets, just like trying to force the VPN ban will lead to the 50 cent army turning on them. Mainland China has a weird and hypocritical political system that i personally can't stand anymore, but when i lived there i didn't mind it too much, maybe because i was younger. For example, you could import anything from Lik San or Play Asia and have it delivered to your door even though supposedly it was not allowed into the country.

 

When reading these things you need to keep reality filters on, and remember there are parts of the world where many people think everyone in the US carries an AR15, everyone in Scotland wears a kilt, and everyone in Ohio works for P&G. Well the latter might actually be true :p

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