The Chinese government passed a ban on foreign video game sales 13 years ago but, as of earlier this year, agreed to re-evaluate its stance
. While video game consoles could technically bypass the ban
established in 2000 – Sony launched the PS2 in Shanghai and Guangzhou in 2004 – through additional language guaranteeing the console isn't "unhealthy," the law has since opposed mass video game console distribution throughout mainland China.
Now China is outlining a plan, which would see a free-trade zone set up in Shanghai, to allow foreign firms to sell consoles and internet-based services, The Wall Street Journal
reports. Of course, China is no stranger to video games: Popular games such as FIFA
, DOTA 2
and Monster Hunter Online
are all offered, albeit through direct Chinese publishing firms. Just last week, Microsoft announced a partnership
with Chinese media company BesTV to offer games and related services to the citizens of China.
The common thread is that any foreign company wishing to publish a game in China needs to do so through a Chinese company. These new regulations – the full list of guidelines is forthcoming – could potentially mitigate the need for Chinese companies having to play middle man, and allow foreign companies to directly sell products and services to the Chinese through this free-trade zone. There's even the potential to sell across all of China, though the Ministry of Culture has final approval on each console.