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Grand Theft Console: Pirates steal video game riches in China

10
Jan
2014

By Paul Carsten, Sophie Knight and Malathi Nayak BEIJING/TOKYO/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – For the past five years, Zhang Yang has sold Xboxes, Wiis and PlayStations at his Beijing shop, but the Chinese merchant is a thorn in the side of video game console makers now allowed into the worlds third biggest market. The consoles that Zhang sells are smuggled into China because they are illegal, although that may change after the government lifted a 14-year-old ban on the devices this week. The proliferation of these bootlegged games, along with Chinas reputation for weak intellectual property rights, means console makers Microsoft Corp, Sony Corp and Nintendo Co Ltd will lose out on lucrative royalties from software sales. Combine that with the fact that most Chinese gamers prefer to play free games on their PCs and mobiles anyway, and the decision to lift the ban on console sales presents a challenge, rather than a big opportunity.

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