China’s strict policies on foreign gaming consoles was temporarily lifted earlier this year.  Seeing as there are almost half a billion gamers in China alone, the race to getting outside games consoles into the country is on!

Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are the top three competitors that wish to get within the Chinese market and who could blame them?

Late last month, Xbox One, made by Microsoft, was the first to announce the release within China’s borders. In a video announcement, Yusef Mehdi from Microsoft stated: ”In China, there are over half a billion gamers, so the opportunity to create globally and locally created content to delight millions and millions of gaming families everywhere is something that we’re really passionate about.”

PS4 Heading To China

Now Sony has jumped on the bandwagon.  Rumours have it that Shanghai Oriental Pearl Culture Development (OPCD) will be in cahoots with Sony in order to bring the PS4 to the Chinese market.

The duo will create two new companies that will deal with services, sales, licensing and distribution of software made by Sony (Sony Computer Entertainment); 70% will be owned by Sony China. The other will be responsible for manufacturing and sales of the PS4 consoles themselves (Shanghai Oriental Pearl Sony Computer Entertainment Culture Development.  A mouthful, indeed!);  only 49% will be owned by Sony China.

However, despite the release of the new consoles, Chinese gamers will still be subject to strict rules on the games played.  For instance, the content of each game must be approved by Shanghai’s government culture department.  It will take 20 days or fewer to approve each new title.

What sort of content will NOT be approved?  Games promoting gambling, obscenities, drug use, violence, or anything that violates the Chinese constitution, national unity, reputation or religious polices will definitely not make it into the list of games.  In 2000, China banned games consoles because they didn’t want children “wasting their minds.”

We shall have to wait and see what games will make it (or get approved) into mainstream gaming.

[Image via koalition]