Early this morning the Wall Street Journal reported that China is finally lifting the 15-year-old ban on video game consoles. Last year restrictions were relaxed—consoles were allowed to be sold in an 11-mile trade zone surrounding Shanghai—but now the console ban in China is completely dismantled.
The original ban in 2000 was supposedly due to the corrupting influence of video games on the youth. We can see fairly similar sentiments around that time in the U.S., of course (see anything from Jack Thompson). But legislation never went terribly far. PC and mobile gaming are huge in China, as well, so the console ban was only ever mildly effective.
Effectiveness of the ban has always been questionable. Nintendo has legally offered iQue for some time in China. Also, pirated games and gray-market consoles have been available in China in spite of the ban.
Still, this is pretty big news for Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. Though whether the Chinese gaming market will welcome consoles with open arms after 15 years of PC gaming is anyone’s guess.