This story originally appeared on the China Daily Website.
China's expansive video gaming industry is about to expand even more after a new proposalby the State Council was released on Thursday.
According to the Council's decision, manufacturing and sales of video game-relatedequipment on the Chinese mainland can carried out throughout the country as long as it hasbeen approved by the Ministry of Culture. Previously, the manufacturing of video game-related equipment such as Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation for sale in the domesticmarket could only be in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.
Lisa Hanson, the managing partner of market research firm Niko Partners, said the move toexpand manufacturing and sales of game consoles out of the FTZ is a good one.
"It is our understanding that the final word on this (the regulation) will not be released until theend of January at the earliest," said Hanson. "We believe that sales of consoles will increasethrough legal distribution."
However, Hanson added that the success of foreign consoles such as Xbox One andPlayStation 4 depends on the number of quality games available for the platforms. She said ifthere aren't enough quality titles approved for the consoles then there may not be as manysales.
Video game consoles, dedicated devices to play video games, were allowed for sale in thecountry for the first time in 13 years in September 2014, after the establishment of theShanghai Free Trade Zone in 2012. The first console to be sold in China after the marketopened up was Microsoft's Xbox One; it was released on Sept 23, 2014.
Japanese electronics giant Sony has plans to release its' own PlayStation 4 console in Chinalater this year.
Fellow Japanese console maker Nintendo has yet to announce plans.
On top of the "big three", various Chinese companies have been trying to capitalize on themarket by creating consoles that run off of Google's Android operating system. Snail Games recently announced their oBox console at the Consumer Electronics Trade Show earlier this month.
According to Xue Yongfeng, an analyst with Analysys International, the current situation in China for the big three console makers hasn't changed.
"Right now, there is no impact, or rather that it's unclear," said Xue. "This industry is very messy right now; there really isn't a demand from the users for console devices."
Xue elaborated that the three big players, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft don't sell very well in China as the regulations have limited the appeal of console gaming. He said that smaller home grown consoles also don't do very well due to quality issues.
"The people who play mobile and online games will continue to play those games," said Xue. "The people who want consoles will have already purchased systems on the gray market."
Sony China did not comment on the new regulations. China Daily has also reached out to Microsoft on the matter.
Eric is a Beijing based writer and all around FAT man. You can contact him @FatAsianTechie@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @FatAsianTechie. (Though his gmail access maybe limited...)