China has officially lifted its 15-year ban on console video game products, which opens up the industry to a country with a population of over 1.3 billion people.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Chinese government is ceasing its ban on video game consoles and their related products (via The Verge). Consoles were banned back in early 2000 due to the belief that games caused detrimental effects for children growing up. In 2015, China experimented by allowing the selling of game consoles in a restricted area of Shanghai. Unfortunately, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft can't just ship their consoles over with some translated menus. The Chinese government is making these companies open up manufacturing plants in the country and making sure that every single console sold is closely inspected to meet the some new specifications.

During the past 15 years, Chinese gamers have almost entirely relied on PC and mobile gaming (excluding black market consoles). Since gaming rigs can be fairly expensive to make, most Chinese gamers visit Internet cafes to play their online PC games, many of which end up playing for prolonged periods of time. A few months ago, we reported that a 24-year-old gamer died in a Shanghai Internet cafe after playing a 19-hour-long session of World of Warcraft. A 32-year-old gamer died in a Taiwan cafe last year after playing PC game for three days straight. In Oct. 2013, a shopping mall McDonald's in China and its adjacent stores were heavily damaged by an electrical fire. The mall security guard ignored the fire alarm and eventually disabled it completely so he could continue to play mobile games throughout the night. While there are problems with video game addiction throughout the world, these events throughout Eastern Asia has us worried about what will happen if console games are introduced.

Nevertheless, we're glad that gamers in China will finally get to play current-gen consoles for the first time this month.

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