After 14 years of preventing its citizens from comfortably taking part in the luxury of modern video gaming, the Chinese government has finally lifted its longstanding ban on foreign video game consoles. The launch of the Xbox One marks the first time since 2000 that a modern gaming console has been released in the Middle Kingdom.
The Chinese government banned all production and sale of foreign gaming consoles out of the belief that video games negatively influenced children. While some games are definitely bad for children, not all of them are, so the extreme ban was merely a way to prevent China’s citizens from getting ideas — you know, like rebelling against their corrupt and oppressive government.
Even with the ban lifted, the Chinese government will still specially-approve what games its citizens will be able to play as part of a censorship criteria that prevents the release of any content that could potentially prove harmful to China’s image. In other words, titles like Battlefield 4, which depicts fictional war scenes between the People’s Liberation Army and US Marine Corps, will likely never be released in the country as long as the communist party is in power.
Other elements that will not be tolerated by officials include obscenities, insults, racial and ethnic hatred.
The Xbox One released in 37 cities across China, with ten games in tow: Kinect Sports Rivals, Dance Central Spotlight, Rayman Legends, Forza Motorsport 5, Neverwinter Online, Trials Fusion, Zoo Tycoon, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, and Powerstar Golf. More titles will be offered at later dates.
While you may think China’s censorship criteria only affects Chinese gamers, it actually has overreaching consequences. The increasing lucrativeness of the Chinese market means more video game developers will prioritize it over North America and Europe, potentially reducing the chances of us getting games like Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in the future.