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If you live in mainland China and you're a pretty big advocate of interactive entertainment, your only outlets and options have been bootleg copies and poor man's pirated ports from shady shack vendors and principle-meandering peddlers of a potentially nefarious position. Well, you no longer have to worry about getting your games from dark alleyways and illegal fight dens, because China, one of the largest video game regions in the world, is lifting their ban on video game consoles...sort of.
Kotaku spotted an article on the South China Morning Post [via Polygon], where it was revealed that China plans to end a 13-year ban on home video consoles imported from other countries.
It's totally safe to read the South China Post because it's completely in English and not the Google Translated rendition of Engrish – the post makes some cool notes about how the Communist country is keeping their proletariat ways while adopting trade of a progressively futurist mindset.
The Post managed to get a source on the information, but the original source wanted to remain anonymous until China makes it official. Mr. or Ms. Anonymous proceeded to say that...
“They still need approval from the culture ministry and other relevant government bodies for their products, which I think is reasonable, because the government wants to make sure the content of your games is not too violent or politically sensitive for young people,”
It's very interesting that in mainland China they're extremely wary about the way people are brainwashed by propaganda. But hot dang I don't think any Call of Duty game could ever see the legal light of day in mainland Republic of China given all the super 'Murican patriotism and apple-pie bleeding heroics of the 'U' 'S' of 'A's military might (despite the two main heroes in the Modern Warfare series actually being Brits on American made steroids.)
The big three, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, have a majority of their consoles already made over in China under the Foxconn manufacturing label... a company, I might add, that has it's own fair share of controversy regarding child labor.
Previously, Nintendo wasn't even entertaining the idea of their products being available in mainland China back when they originally released the Wii, and sanctioned the U.S. Government to crackdown on any illegal console imports to China as a way to cut down on copyright infringement.
Many Chinese gamers have previously mentioned that the only way they can play portable or home console devices from the big three is to buy them off the black market or some sweaty underground shop that deals in the shady business of illegal imports. Finally, the young people of China will no longer have to tolerate the foul stench of a back-alley grifter just trying to keep food on the table for his 15 kids in Guizhou by selling off a poorly labeled knockoff of Pokemon X & Y for the Nintendo 3DS.
This news has already resonated with the big three, with a representative for Sony stating that...
“We recognise that mainland China is a promising market. We will continuously study the possibility, but there is no concrete plan at this stage.”
Things are looking up, however, as another source told the Post that if things go as planned with the Shanghai free trade zone, gamers in mainland China could have access to games and game consoles just the same way as the semi-independent gamers from Hong Kong. The one source stated...
“The Shanghai free trade zone plan is strongly supported by Premier Li, who wants to improve China’s image as opening further to business under the new leadership (of Premier Li and President Xi Jinping),” ... “You may think the game console is a small deal in the whole policy package for Shanghai, but it’s an interesting instance showing how China wants to open up to foreign investors.”
Whether or not it all pans out is a whole other story, but at least they're finally taking steps. Now if only they can do something about that poverty... hmm.