China drawing up plans to end official game console sales ban, report claims

China's 13-year prohibition on game console sales may soon come to an end, according to a report from the South China Morning Post. The compromise would see the likes of Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft able to manufacture game consoles in Shanghai's new free trade zone -- part of a larger governmental move to open up China's economy to the outside world -- and then market and sell said consoles across mainland China. Of course, the big three would still have to pass the Chinese government's smell test, an approval from "culture-related authorities," according to the report.

The news certainly lines up with China's goal in its original ban: "to keep underage folks away from dangerous venues and unhealthy content," Engadget China head Richard Lai wrote earlier this year in a piece detailing the history of China's game console law. In fact, Nintendo's currently able to sell game consoles in China, despite the long-standing ban; it currently markets its 3DS XL gaming handheld under the iQue brand, alongside a handful of first-party Nintendo software. Sony's also had brief approval for console sales in China in the past, including a Chinese version of the PlayStation 2 -- the company's PlayStation arm even has a headquarters in Guangzhou as part of a government-backed project.

Lifting China's game console sales ban is little more than a report at the moment, but now seems like an especially good time for the country to reconsider its stance. With new game consoles on the way from Sony and Microsoft, that's a lot of money potentially being left on the table.