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November 07, 2012

China's PlayStation Ban May Be Lifted with New Certification

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

In China, getting your hands on a PlayStation device of any stripe was difficult due to a ban on the devices. Citing concerns over the well-being of young people, home video game systems have been banned throughout the country. However, a new certification from the China Quality Certification Center may change that in the coming weeks.

The China Quality Certification Center issued the certifications to two different models of the PlayStation 3--which was called a "computer entertainment system" in the records--back in July. Certification in the safety standards is a must for any goods to be released to the Chinese people, so Sony getting that certification is seen by some as the first step in China relaxing its stance on the systems.

Of course, there are caveats aplenty in tow with Sony's new thumbs-up from Chinese safety regulators, perhaps the biggest of which is that the China Quality Certification Center has absolutely zero regulatory authority, and that the Ministry of Culture is the only one who can overturn the ban in place. Even Sony is remaining somewhat quiet about the whole affair, with spokeswoman Mai Hora saying: "This does not mean that we have officially decided to enter Chinese market".

Given that China represents the world's second largest economy, having recently claimed the mantle of same from Japan, getting products on store shelves there is a goal for a lot of companies. While a variety of companies are eager to get products into China, China is being a bit more particular about what it lets in. Though considering that Lenovo recently brought the Eedoo CT510 into play not too long ago in China--and given that the Eedoo CT510 is very reminiscent of the Microsoft (News - Alert) Kinect, which Lenovo billed as an "exercise and entertainment machine"--it may show signs of easing on the part of Chinese regulators.

Additionally, gaming is very popular in China, especially on mobile devices and online via computers. So while this may limit the market for dedicated gaming systems like those of Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, it does prove that there's a market for this material. However, the game makers--based on word from Piers Harding-Rolls, the senior games analyst at London's IHS (News - Alert) Screen Digest--will have to spare a thought for piracy, still very prevalent in China, cutting into their revenue.

Indeed, the Chinese market for gaming, which hasn't seen a console in approaching two decades now, is one that's very much different from markets other countries are familiar with. Different strategies will be required in order to succeed in same, and that's going to test the limits of just what companies can pull off. Still, the rewards for success are very promising indeed, and pose to make some companies very happy if they can get a substantial portion of the second largest market on Earth interested. The prize is too rich to pass up for long, but getting a shot at that particular brass ring may well prove more difficult than some want to consider.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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