China has lifted a ban on the sale of video games consoles that has been in place for the past 15 years.
The ban was instituted in 2000 amid worries that Chinese children would waste too much time playing video games. This has resulted in a boom in PC gaming across the country.
The new move is aimed at promoting a new manufacturing zone in Shanghai. Gaming consoles made in the new Shanghai Free-Trade Zone are set to be pre-approved for sale all over China, a Ministry of Culture official announcement has revealed.
Although they have been banned for domestic use, many famous name consoles have actually been manufactured in China for export for a long time.
This means that Chinese games fans are not completely unfamiliar with console-based play as the local black market has provided access to machines intended for sale overseas.
China’s communist leaders are looking to promote sustainable growth by increasing domestic consumption of entertainment and technology products.
Although the content of games will be censored by the government, the official ministry notice said that the changes are intended to promote a “healthy and progressive” form of digital entertainment.
The Shanghai Free-Trade Zone has enabled foreign companies to gain wider access to a range of industries in China.
Microsoft and Sony have already announced their intentions to manufacture consoles in the Shanghai zone in closer co-operation with their Chinese partners.
Sony spokesman Sousuke Kamei said: “We remain committed to deliver fun and exciting console gaming experiences to as many Chinese users as possible.”