Could China finally be ready to make its long-delayed entry into the console wars? It was only a matter of time since the 14-year ban on video game consoles was lifted in January of this year, and a collaboration between two companies has now announced that we could see a new China-exclusive device out sometime this month.

China has a huge amount of gamers, possibly the third-largest gaming community in the world, but up until recently games consoles were actually illegal on the mainland despite the fact that most parts and even the entirety of some popular devices are manufactured there. The intention was to limit the supposedly detrimental effect of video games on the nation’s youth, however this didn’t stop kids jumping online to immerse themselves in MMORPGs, or surfing the recent wave of mobile gaming.

And of course plenty of people have their hands on consoles through imports via the ‘grey’ market, as well as there being a horde of infamous rip-offs such as the Vii (based on the Wii) and The Winner (based on the PS3). But now companies will be able to legally produce and sell consoles on the mainland for the first time since 2000, and tech companies aren’t wasting any time in taking advantage of these new freedoms. Microsoft has already announced a collaboration with BesTV New Media Co, although it has not yet said whether they intend to bring over the Xbox or create an entirely new device. There’s also been a crop of cheap devices running the Android OS, but so far nothing to rival the heavy hitters.

The latest exciting news is that there’s going be a brand new console bursting onto the scene, and we should be seeing it sometime this month.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the telecommunications manufacturer company ZTE and online game publisher and developer The9 are teaming up to create a new console that will be sold exclusively in China. The9 is already well-known within gaming circles for bringing World of Warcraft to China via its partnership with Blizzard Entertainment, so it should be in an ideal position to know exactly what Chinese gamers want. The device, dubbed the Fun Box, will be a Tegra 4-based console with 2GB RAM, USB and micro-USB ports, as well as Bluetooth and wi-fi capability which will allow it to stream HD content from the internet.

Unfortunately this is all we know for now, and the company is remaining tight-lipped on any further details. Since it will supposedly use Nvidia’s Tegra 4 processor, I’d say that it’s likely this is going to be another Android-based device, and it may be a while before something more powerful hits the market. The potential market for legally-bought consoles in China is huge – surely a contender for the top spot will emerge soon? Watch this space.

Source: Games In Asia, Gamasutra
Image: Segment Next