If you lived in China recently you’ll know that playing video games wasn’t too difficult, but always regulated to the shadows. Since 2000 China has had a ban on manufacturing and selling of foreign gaming consoles except in an 11-mile wide trade zone in Shanghai. This meant if you really wanted to play modern video games you had to smuggle your console in or just order it internationally online. Now, China has lifted the ban on console games, allowing free purchase of video games across the country.
I have a few friends who have spent time in China, and their stories of getting consoles to work never sounded too crazy. Connecting to the internet was more difficult than hiding an Xbox or PS4 from the government. The ban was aimed more towards the Chinese youth because video games were seen, by the Chinese government, as something that would corrupt the young.
Also in the time between now and 2000 video games have become increasingly more popular and mainstream. Online has moved from a luxury to the norm. China has already begun allowing certain franchises their own unique foothold in the country with games like Call of Duty Online, a free to play version of the popular multiplayer shooter. While this all may seem like a late move by China it is still a ripe market for sales. Movie ticket sales have skyrocketed in China over the last decade and if that’s any indication we may see China become the next big major market in the video games industry.