After a 15 years of a video game console ban in China, the most populated country in the world is now a fertile land for video game consoles as Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo can now sell their products in the country.
China has placed a console ban way back in 2000 to counter the negative effects of video game consoles on their youth. In 2014, China held a pilot test to allow video game consoles to be sold only in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone but be banned from the rest of the country, The Wall Street Journal?reported.
Now, console makers can expand their market after China?s Ministry of Culture announced new rules that enables foreign and domestic console makers to manufacture and sell consoles anywhere in China, the report said.
Sony even seems to be aggressively capitalizing on the opportunity as Sony will be hosting a press conference on July 29 in Shanghai in China, a day before ChinaJoy, DualShockers reported. Sony Executive Shuhei Yoshida and Sony CEO Andrew House will be attending the event.
What Did Chinese Gamers?Do During The China Ban On Video Game Consoles?
In all the years video game consoles were absent in the country, the only game-related experience they have entertained themselves with are mobile games and online games.
Video Game Consoles however were still sold in the country before the lifting of the ban, Forbes reported, but it was done through the black market. They reported that over 1.2 million units of consoles were illegally sold per year in the country between the years 2002 and 2009.
?Upon the launch of Nintendo?s Wii roughly 500,000 units were sold in China, and when Xbox 360 was launched roughly 450,000 units were sold,? Forbes reported citing data from Niko Partners. The PS3 struggled to sell in the country because of the difficulty in playing pirated games, making the PS2 the most sold last gen console in China.
During the lack of console games in the country, China has focused on mobile gaming and online gaming. ?What seperates China historically is that it has almost developed its own ecosystem of online games that are hugely popular inside the country but almost entirely unheard of outside of it,? Founder of Daxue Consulting in Beijing and Shanghai Matthieu David-Experton told The Street.
In 2014 alone, China earned $18.4 billion from online games sales, The Street reported, and might top $24.5 billion in 2015 which would mean China garnering higher sales than the U.S. online gaming market in 2014.
With China’s 1.3 billion population, video game console makers are hoping to reap profits in the country. China however already has a steady base of mobile and online games in the country and we are yet to see if the console giants will be well-received in the country. If they become successful, the question is, will it be Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo?