Whereas most of the media in the world focusing on China last week was interested in the random disappearance of the new President to be, gamers in China were wondering if the console ban would soon be lifted. However despite all the wishing and praying the Chinese government’s Ministry of Culture came out last week to officially quash rumours of the ban being lifted.
Earlier this month rumours were flying all over the Chinese internet about the ban on gaming consoles being lifted. The rumours were based on the premise that the upcoming 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which will spur in new leadership, could bring about a change in the country’s policies on electronic gaming. While it seems that the government is ready for new leaders to take over, it doesn’t seem ready to say anything definite about the gaming ban.
Consoles have been banned in China since July 2000. The exact reasons for the ban are unknown but the ban came from the Ministry of Culture which overseas all forms of “culture” within China and those that come in. The Ministry of Culture was responsible for banning the Backstreet Boys… seriously, the Backstreet Boys.
Without a console market in China, the primary form of video game entertainment is found in the form of online PC games. That’s not to say that there aren’t any consoles in China. Many Chinese gamers have consoles which they purchase through a the grey market. Enterprising Chinese companies have also tried to create game systems by marketing them as exercise machines and the like.
One thing is for certain, there maybe some big changes in China following the change in leadership this October. Who knows, maybe the expected President Xi Jinping is a Nintendo fan and lifts the ban so he can play the next Zelda?
文化部否认开放游戏机进口政策 [People’s Daily]