The nation of China may be the largest in the world in terms of population, but it has not prevented many strange ideas slipping through the net, as along with the nation-wide bans on Google Maps and TV shows/movies that feature time travel, something else that is popular has for a long time been prohibited in the Asian country, although it soon might not be, after the topic of un-banning games consoles have been discussed by national authorities (whose unusual decisions have been subjected to few joking comparisons with those of Microsoft… so far).
The suspension on the market has been in place for 13 years (roughly the same length of time the Sony PlayStation 2 has existed for), but the South China Morning Post have reported that Chinese people could soon be free to play video games to their heart’s content… provided the product has an often-infamous ‘made in China’ logo branded upon it.
This is because the sole condition to permitting consoles is that the foreign manufacturers (American company Microsoft and Japanese companies Sony and Nintendo) will be required to build the items in the new ‘Shanghai Free Trade Zone’ if they want to sell those products in China.
If any manufacturer does take them up on the offer, the consoles, as well as the games released on them, will then have to pass mandatory ‘culture-related authorities’ before hitting the shelves. The government-enforced ban had been in place since June 2000 under concern that video game content could be ‘detrimental to citizen’s mental health’ (although given the developments in both graphics and content, the phrase ‘that was then, this is now’ could have a double meaning here).
A source said of the complications: “They still need approval from the culture ministry and other relevant government bodies for their products, which I think is reasonable, because the government wants to make sure the content of your games is not too violent or politically sensitive for young people.”
Through likely future developments though, with the major companies likely to be eager to claim a share of the world’s largest potential national userbase no matter what the expense in setting up a factory in Shanghai, it seems as though the ‘console black market’ will no longer be required in China, unless, of course, the games being ‘sold’ are of a clear conflict of interest: