China has officially lifted the ban on selling consoles, though the measure is temporary it seems, according to the BBC. China banned the sale of home video game consoles in 2000, saying that it did so because it had an adverse affect on the mental health of the country's youth.
This ban has helped create a gray market for home consoles and software as well as a black market for software. The ban also helped the PC gaming space grow by leaps and bounds over the years in the region. The PC gaming market in China generates $13 billion dollars a year.
In a statement issued today, the government reemphasized what it had said in the past: it would allow foreign companies to make consoles in Shanghai's free trade zone and sell them in China after they have been inspection by various cultural departments.
China's State Council did not say how long the suspension of the ban would last.
Sony said in response to questions about entering into the lucrative market, that it was evaluating such a move, but that it had no concrete plans at this time.
"We recognize that China is a promising market," Sony said. "We will continuously study the possibility, but there is no concrete plan at this stage."
Microsoft, on the other hand, has already made in-roads to China. In December Luo Jiangchun, CEO of online video service Funshion, said during a marketing and advertising strategy meeting that the Xbox One would be available in China in 2014. Jiangchun's company is owned by Chinese IPTV provider BesTV, who Microsoft launched a joint-venture with this past September.
Microsoft and BesTV launched a $79 million joint venture in the Shanghai Free Economic Zone. It is likely that this partnership will be used to bring its latest console to market, though Microsoft has not publicly commented on its future plans...