A very large market for video games is about to open up, which could boost overall sales for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. China is planning to lift its 13 year ban on video games in order to boost the cultural relevance of its Shanghai Free Trade Zone. Companies like Sony and Nintendo will now be allowed to sell games and consoles throughout the country so long as joint venture operations are established in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. This Free Trade Zone is Shanghai is an attempt by the Chinese government to establish a cultural and financial hub similar to cities such as New York, London, and Tokyo.
While the ban on video games is lifting, products to be sold in the company will still need to meet the guidelines of China’s Ministry of Culture before being allowed in the country. The 2000 ban on video games was put into place over concerns of the affects of violent video games on children. Despite the ban, popular consoles have long been available in the country, either pirated or imported illegally. Now with the ban lifted, proper marketing and sales efforts can begin.
The Chinese market is a very large one and the only Nintendo product sold there officially is the Nintendo 3DS XL, sold through a publishing partner. Now Nintendo can market the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS freely, meaning install-base for these consoles could skyrocket once the ban is officially lifted and Nintendo enters the country in a concentrated marketing effort.