China is the most populous nation on Earth and it is also one that is seeing a lot of middle class growth, meaning it can become a huge money spinner for companies. However, console manufacturers have been left out as for the last 15 years all gaming consoles have been banned in the censor heavy country. That has all changed now though, with China making the historic decision to allow consoles to be sold within the nation.
That of course paves the way for the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, and Nintendo Wii U to find their way to over one billion potential new consumers. More than that, the companies could also release some of their legacy machines, such as the PS3, the Xbox 360, and the Wii, effectively forming a two tiered price market that is fresh within China.
China has been toying with the idea of ditching the ban for some time, and so far consoles have been available within the Shanghai Free Trade Zone exclusively. That initial cooling of regulations still came with heavy restrictions, but the new move seems to have entirely opened up the market, effectively unbanning the products that were previously prohibited.
Arguably the most interesting aspect of consoles hitting the Chinese market is how the major companies (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo) tackle an obvious gap in the consumer mind-set. For example, Chinese gamers have no experience of consoles, and while they have been able to game on PC, they have not had access to many titles that crossed to console machines.
This means the average Chinese gamer has no gauge on what console gaming is, so the current 8th generation is likely to be far and above anything they have seen. The Chinese market has become awash with mobile gamers as the smartphone has taken hold in the country. Console manufacturers are going to have to persuade gamers to ditch those rudimentary mobile titles in favour of something of console quality, which will also mean charming them into coughing up more money for games.
Either way, a new frontier has been opened and a new consoles war has been born… who will come out on top in China, Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo?