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China reverses 'ban' on videogames, but there's a catch and it involves Shanghai's free trade zone

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Consider this the somewhat end of China's 13-year old (loosely enforced) "ban" on videogames. A new policy issued by the country's State Council amends the language of a prior bill from 2000 which "strictly limited" the manufacture and import of game consoles. Now, foreign companies that register within Shanghai's free trade zone, the country's first such pilot program designed to spur private investment, competition and economic growth, are free to sell gaming consoles and arcade machines throughout China. Restrictions on "unhealthy" content still remain, however, with only games whitelisted by the Ministry of Culture allowed for sale. But despite this official reversal, Chinese gamers have long enjoyed access to popular videogames and consoles, anyway. Systems from Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, as well as knock-offs, have all been easily accessible on the black market. That's not to mention Nintendo's China-only iQue -- a "safe" mini-N64 created with the country's cultural guidelines in mind -- which has been on sale through official market channels for some time.

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