China fully lifts ban on video-game consoles

China fully lifts ban on video-game consoles
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The Chinese government has fully lifted a 15-year ban on video-game consoles, it announced last week.

The new rules allow console makers from inside and outside of China to manufacture and sell their devices throughout the country.

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The decision by the the Ministry of Culture to lift the ban follows a 2014 program that allowed foreign console manufacturers to operate in the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone, The Wall Street Journal reported this weekend. The Journal reported that the culture agency had said in a statement that the program has been a success.

Consoles were banned in 2000 because of worries over the effect the violent content of some video games had on children.

The program that tested lifting the ban was not without its restrictions. It required the console makers to establish manufacturing facilities in the free-trade zone, according to an earlier report in The Wall Street Journal. The Verge reported that manufacturers needed to obtain permissions from regulators to sell consoles, as well as get each device individually inspected.

Last week’s move opens up a valuable market for console manufacturers like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. Chinese gamers had turned to computer and mobile gaming in light of the console ban.

Nonetheless, the country has a significant gaming industry. A report last year found that the market for video games in China will surpass that of the U.S. by 2016.