Sony's PlayStation 3 has received approval from Chinese regulators, a sign the country may soon lift a ban on gaming consoles, industry watchers say.
Gaming consoles have been banned in China since 2000 by the Ministry of Culture, which has said they harm the well-being of young people. The certification of Sony's console by the country's safety standards body may signal a relaxation of the rules in the future, CNET reported.
The China Quality Certification Center website has listed two models of the Playstation, labeled "computer entertainment system," as having received approval in July, CNET said.
All products must pass safety standard before they can be offered to Chinese consumers.
The safety approval does not mean Sony can start selling Playstations in China, analysts caution, because the certification body has no regulatory power.
"The Ministry of Culture has the regulatory authority over the console segment and is the sole organization that can revoke the ban," said Lisa Cosmas Hanson of the U.S. video games consulting company Niko Partners.
Sony has confirmed the receipt of the safety certification, but did not comment further on any plans.
"This does not mean that we have officially decided to enter the Chinese market," Sony spokeswoman Mai Hora said. "We recognize that China is a promising market so we will continuously study the possibility."
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