Last September China announced that it was planning to lift its longtime ban on foreign video game consoles — and now the day is finally here. The ban — which has been in place since 2000, with Chinese officials wary of the effects on young people — has officially been lifted, albeit temporarily, and it's not quite clear how long it will last. Companies like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft will now be able to build consoles in a designated free trade zone in Shanghai, where they'll then be inspected by Chinese government officials for approval before going on sale.
"There is no concrete plan at this stage."
However, it's unclear when, or even if, the big console makers will decide to enter the potentially lucrative new market. "We recognize that China is a promising market," Sony told the BBC in a statement. "We will continuously study the possibility, but there is no concrete plan at this stage." The Chinese video game market is reportedly as large as $13 billion, but due to the ban the vast majority of that comes from PC gaming. If the government's relaxing of the ban proves to be more permanent, gamers in China could eventually have to make the same decision as the rest of us: PlayStation 4 or Xbox One?