China mulls end of decade-long videogame console ban

China is thinking about lifting a 13-year ban on video game consoles. The China Daily reported on Monday that the Chinese Ministry of Culture is looking into the ban.

An unnamed source in the Ministry told the paper that the console policy is under review and that some surveys have already been carried out, in conjunction with other government ministries.

“However, since the ban was issued by seven ministries more than a decade ago, we will need approval from all parties to lift it,” the source told China Daily. However, a Reuters source claims the Ministry is not considering lifting the ban. 

Be that as it may, the market is already reacting. Sony and Nintendo shares spiked, gaining eight and three percent respectively, but the companies are not commenting on the rumours.

Although video game consoles are banned in China, online gaming and gaming on mobile devices is common. The ban simply limits the choice of gaming platforms, so most consumers rely on PCs and a new generation of smartphones and tablets for their gaming needs.

In other words, if China lifts the ban, it would be a boon to console makers like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, but it would come at the expense of PC suppliers, namely makers of discrete graphics cards and gaming peripherals.

Since the PC market is already slow, the decision to lift the ban could be the last thing some companies want to hear.