Report Suggests China May Lift Console Gaming Ban

from the no-more-defaming-gaming dept

Due to recent events and blame-shifting attempts by certain lobbying groups, video games are once again in the crosshairs here in America. It's unclear to me as of yet whether or not this will amount to a heavy dose of grandstanding noise and then die off, or if any of the crackpot proposals surrounding games will actually be enacted. The studies linking gaming with all manner of negative impacts are, at best, all over the place. Proponents of legislation will often claim that since there is no evidence that games don't harm youths, a proactive approach is the sensible one. Those on my side of the debate, i.e. people that prefer logic to grandstanding, prefer to suggest that it is incumbent upon those affirming a stance to provide evidence for it, as opposed to asking others to disprove a link that likely doesn't exist. In any case, whether you think legislation against games is warranted or not, one needs only to look to China's mainland to see what effect such legislation might have.

That's because China banned console gaming a decade ago. Due to a fear of harming the physical and mental growth of Chinese children, the government banned the manufacture, sale or import of all gaming consoles. The results are about what you'd expect, which is to say that there are all kinds of gaming consoles in the Chinese market, except they're either smuggled in or they're simply called something else in marketing material to get around the ban.
Beijing Eedoo successfully launched a multimedia entertainment console in the mainland market in April last year. But the company has changed the product name several times in order to avoid sensitive issues.
Jack Luo, chief executive officer of Beijing Eedoo, insisted his company is selling a "sports and entertainment machine", rather than a game console, to Chinese families.
That's certainly one laughably transparent way to do it, I suppose. The other is to sell pirated games along with smuggled systems, which a select number of Chinese businesses do. With so little competition, the margins are extreme. They love the ban on consoles. Unfortunately for those engaged in selling these black market consoles, the Chinese government appears to be waking up to the uselessness of their law and is said to be considering lifting the ban entirely.
Rumors have circulated in the Chinese media that some international companies have already sensed the government's changing attitude. They hope to figure out the Chinese authorities' intentions so they can make a rapid response, analysts said.
Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), a subsidiary responsible for Sony's PlayStation business, set up a branch in South China's Guangdong province in June last year. The Guangdong branch will conduct training and research and development work for Sony.
Microsoft introduced its Kinect, a controller-free game console, to the Chinese mainland in October last year. However, Zhang Yaqin, chairman of Microsoft Corp's Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group, said Kinect is not used for games in China but for other purposes, such as medical treatment and education.
This, of course, would be a boon to console-makers around the world, providing them a massive market and freeing them from pretending their console devices are chiefly a medical or educational device. More importantly, there's a lesson here for Americans. Laws limiting speech and entertainment that go against the wishes of the public not only don't work, they encourage illegal profiteering of those same laws. If a totalitarian regime like China can figure this out, I'd like to think our grandstanding legislators can as well.


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Filed Under: china, consoles, gaming

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  1. icon
    Richard (profile), 1 Feb 2013 @ 3:31am


    I don't see why the Chinese government is so deadset against gaming. Hell, half their citizens probably make a solid income from gold farming.

    Note the sude effect - which is to exclude foriegn competitors from the Chinese market. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo can't easily wrap up their consoles as something else when they are sold as game consoles throughout the rest of the world. A Chinese manufacturer, on the other hand can engineer its product and marketing around the laws.

    This move probably indicates that the Chinese government now believes that its games industry is strong enough to withstand some competition!

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