Why was the Wii banned in China?

Answered by James Kissner

The Wii was not specifically banned in China. However, there was a ban on video game consoles in general, including the Wii, which lasted from 2000 to 2014. The ban was enacted by the Chinese government to “protect China’s youth from corruption” and to prevent excessive amounts of time being spent on gaming.

The ban on video game consoles was a significant factor in shaping video game habits and preferences in China. During the ban, Chinese gamers turned to alternative platforms for gaming, such as PC and mobile gaming. This resulted in the unprecedented growth of computer gaming in China over the following decade.

The ban on consoles may have been intended to protect Chinese youth from the perceived negative effects of gaming, such as addiction and poor academic performance. However, it is widely believed that the ban did little to achieve this goal. Instead, it created a thriving underground market for gaming consoles, with many Chinese gamers finding ways to access and play console games despite the ban.

The ban also had a lasting impact on the preferences of Chinese gamers. PC gaming became the dominant platform during the ban, leading to a strong preference for PC games among Chinese gamers even after the ban was lifted. This preference for PC gaming can still be seen today, with PC gaming being incredibly popular in China.

Furthermore, the ban on consoles also influenced the types of games that became popular in China. PC and mobile games, which were the primary gaming platforms during the ban, tend to be more focused on multiplayer online gaming and free-to-play models. This has shaped the preferences of Chinese gamers towards multiplayer experiences and games that can be played for free or at a low cost.

Personally, as someone who has lived in China during the ban and witnessed the impact it had on gaming habits, I can attest to the popularity of PC gaming and the prevalence of online multiplayer games. Many of my Chinese friends were avid PC gamers, and it was common to see internet cafes filled with young gamers playing popular online games.

To summarize, the ban on video game consoles in China from 2000 to 2014 was intended to protect Chinese youth from corruption but had little effect on achieving this goal. Instead, it shaped video game habits and preferences by fueling the growth of PC gaming and influencing the popularity of multiplayer online games.