• Console makers are back in China through ChinaJoy 2015.

Console makers are back in China through ChinaJoy 2015. (Photo : Reuters)

This year’s ChinaJoy captures the attention of console makers, as the event has shown high potential for promoting their products and services. The country’s rapidly growing levels of gamers serve as a trigger for the companies to construct a market in mainland China.

The China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference, more popularly known as ChinaJoy, commenced its 15th session in Shanghai on Thursday, Aug. 30.

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ChinaJoy returns shortly after the central government lifted a 15-year restriction on gaming consoles.

On July 24, the Ministry of Culture released a statement allowing console manufacturers to build and sell consoles all over China. These activities were previously exclusive to the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and as part of a pilot program.

Implications of this change in policy open up opportunities for console makers, such as Sony Corporation and Microsoft. These companies now gain full access to China's booming game market, as stated by analysts.

According to the People's Daily, ChinaJoy has released the figure of 60.51 billion yuan ($9.7 billion) as the sector's revenue for the first two quarters of this year. This indicated a 21.9-percent increase compared to the same period in 2014.

Top console makers Microsoft and Sony have been in active cooperation with game developers in China, participating in various programs in the country, including financial rewards and technical support, gamesindustray.biz said on June 9.

Both gaming giants look forward to producing localized games in an attempt to win the Chinese market, according to the report.

The policy change unlocked opportunities, but it does not guarantee a quick and easy path to business success.

The biggest hurdle is informing people about console games and what they are. Unlike many other countries, China needs more time and education to fully understand the nature of console games, as stated by Mike Nichols, corporate vice-president of Xbox and Studios at Microsoft.

Another crucial challenge is the price of gaming consoles, which must compete against local games that are free to play.

Combined with special promos at ChinaJoy, the price of an Xbox One is at a minimum of 2,999 yuan, while the cost of a Sony PlayStation 4 starts at 2,499 yuan.

Even if there would be some who are willing to pay, there is still hesitation on whether the Chinese version of the Xbox would be able to satisfy customers. This is because the list of Xbox games offered in China is limited compared to that of the U.S. Most games found in the Chinese edition are rather simple, and most violent games might be restricted from the Chinese market as part of China's censorship regulations.