Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 has received a certification of quality from a
Chinese safety standards body, sparking speculation that China will end
a decade-old ban on home game consoles.
China has banned video game
consoles since 2000, citing a need to protect the well-being of its
young people. Some analysts cautioned against reading too much into
Sony's new certificate, noting the organisation that gave it has no
"The Ministry of Culture has the regulatory
authority over the console segment and is the sole organisation that can
revoke the ban," said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of
U.S.-based video games consultancy Niko Partners.
Quality Certification Centre website showed two models of the
PlayStation 3, labelled "computer entertainment system" received
approval this July. All products must pass the safety standard before
they can be sold to Chinese consumers.
Sony confirmed that it had
received certification but remained tightlipped about whether this
heralded an imminent entry for the PlayStation into the world's
second-largest economy or whether the company needed further
"This does not mean that we have officially decided to enter Chinese market," Sony spokeswoman Mai Hora said.
"We recognize that China is a promising market so we will continuously study the possibility."
Representatives for China's Ministry of Culture could not be reached for comment.
But there has also been some precedent that China authorities are taking a less hard-line attitude towards game consoles.
year Lenovo Group launched Eedoo CT510, a motion sensing device that
plays games similar in concept to Microsoft's Kinect extension for the
Xbox game console, by touting by Eedoo as an "exercise and entertainment
Although video game consoles are banned in China,
online gaming and games on mobile devices are deeply entrenched limiting
the potential upside for Sony and rival game machine makers like
Microsoft Corp and Nintendo Co Ltd.
"It obviously has a huge
population, but gamers in China have different consumption habits," said
Piers Harding-Rolls, senior games analyst at IHS Screen Digest in
"A lot of established gamers will use non-dedicated devices they have used over many years."
machine makers would also have to find ways to ensure that piracy did
not cut into their income from games software and other content,
© Thomson Reuters 2012