A Wall Street Journal report on Saturday claims that the ministry is going to pass an act which offers gaming console manufacturers the possibility of selling their products nationwide. The ban was previously partially lifted for the Shanghai free-trade zone in 2014.
Video game consoles have been banned since 2000 in China by order of the same institution in 2000, reportedly because a flood of parental complaints regarding the then-rising console market and how it affected the youth. Officialy, the ban extended to all electronic gaming systems and devices, but some companies such as Nintendo managed to circumvent the regulation by offering plug and play consoles – which integrated consoles within controllers and had only one preinstalled game.
The Chinese video game market is the second largest in the world after the U.S., generating revenue of over $22 billion in 2014. Most of it comes from massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) or other types of online games such as League of Legends or DOTA 2. China has the biggest online gaming market in the world, and the Chinese player-base is the largest in the world’s most popular MMO, World of Warcraft.
Despite this, initial console integration in the market has gone painfully slow, with the launches of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 towards the end of 2014 in Shanghai being met with underwhelming sales. Part of this could be attributed to a lack in the diversity of games offered, as most games for those consoles have yet to pass government censorship.
China has a history with game censorship, with its legislation prohibiting a varied list of themes. Amongst banned games are Battlefield 4 and Command & Conquer Generals, which had you fight against the Chinese Army (which was a playable faction, but also an opponent to other factions) and Football Manager 2005, which listed Tibet as an independent country.
Other games have had to modify their content to suit Chinese regulation. World of Warcraft has a popular instance in which the game’s skeletons are completely removed – though it is possible that this might just be a case of the developer wanting to be on the safe side of one point which forbids the spreading of superstition. Other Asian MMO’s available in China are reportedly using skeletons freely within their games.
Image Source: libertyfact.com