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China may lift a decade long ban on consoles

China are considering removing a decade long ban on the sale of consoles on home territory. The official China Daily newspaper has published an article today which has sent shares of the major console players soaring.

We reported back in November last year that the Playstation 3 had received a quality certification from a Chinese safety standards body, which subsequently fired speculation that Beijing would lift the ban. The Government imposed the ban in 2000 to ‘safeguard children’s mental and physical development.”

Game consoles are still banned in the country – including the Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii. Gamers in the country however are very active when it comes to mobile gaming online.

The China Daily quoted an unnamed source from the Ministry Of Culture who said “We are reviewing the policy and have conducted some surveys and held discussions with other ministries on the possibility of opening up the game console market. However, since the ban was issued by seven ministries more than a decade ago, we will need approval from all parties to lift it.”

Darker news has emerged however as an official at the ministry’s cultural market department denied the report. This same department is responsible for the legislation. The official spoke to Reuters and said “The ministry is not considering lifting the ban.”

If the ban was to be lifted then it would open a huge market to all the major console makers – more than a billion potential customers.

When the news broke, Sony shares increased by 8% and Nintendo gained more than 3.5%.

Sony Computer Entertainment spokeswoman Yoshiko Uchiyama said she could not comment directly on the report to the Guardian newspaper. “Our stance towards business in China has not changed. Of course, we acknowledge China as a promising market for our business, and we are always considering and preparing business opportunities and possibilities (in the country).”

Kitguru says: If the ban is lifted, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will be counting the dollars.

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