• China has announced it will ease the restrictions on the sale of gaming consoles and games.

China has announced it will ease the restrictions on the sale of gaming consoles and games. (Photo : Reuters)

China plans to ease up on 15-year restrictions of the sale of video game consoles in the country, or even end the long-lasting ban. A new Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report reveals that gamers can soon purchase a game system from stores throughout the nation. Consumers will also be able to buy gaming consoles and games produced by both domestic and foreign  manufacturers, including Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft.

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The huge Asian country implemented the ban in 2000, according to Mashable. That has basically shut out foreign console giants.

China had already "lifted" the ban in 2014. However, due to red tape, the Ministry of Culture limited the sale of consoles  produced inside the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ), and then distributed throughout the rest of the nation, according to PC Mag. The Chinese government also approved all video games.

Now both foreign and local video games can be sold in China. In addition, gaming consoles can be retailed outside the FTZ, which implicitly includes the entire country.  

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have already hit China's market. However, sales have been lukewarm, and will likely total a less-than-impressive 550,000 units this year.

Those sales figures are probably due to the sky-high price and availability of few top games. Microsoft has taken notice. In May the company co-founded by Bill Gates dropped the price tag of its Xbox One console in both China and Japan.

Such gaming companies are expectantly pleased about the lifting of the gaming ban in China, which was indicated by a Sony spokesperson's recent response to the WSJ. It is "great news."

There is also an X factor. China's gaming industry centers on PC and mobile games, so it remains to be seen how effectively fewer sales restrictions will penetrate the console market.  

The WSJ has reported that the value of the Chinese gaming market is now $22.2 billion. That is up almost one-fourth from the prior year.