China PS4 Xbox One
Microsoft and Sony will be eager to gain a foothold in the Chinese market with their PS4 and Xbox One consoles. Wiki Commons / Microsoft / Sony

China is set to end its 14-year ban on the manufacturing and selling of video game consoles, opening the door for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo to sell their consoles unrestricted in the world's biggest untapped market.

Wall Street Journal reports that the decision from China's Ministry of Culture allows for the sale of consoles made by any company and manufactured in any country. Before, consoles could only be sold by select companies and only if they were made in the Shanghai free trade zone.

There are some caveats however. Manufactures must obtain licenses from the government, comply with strict regulations and ensure the consoles don't promote anything that might "harm national unity".

The ban was first enforced by China's communist government in 2000, limiting Chinese gamers to PC games, mobile titles, consoles imported from overseas sold on the black market and fake devices.

Now console manufacturers will be able to sell to a gaming marketed estimated by Newzoo BV to be worth $22.2 billion (£14.3bn) in 2015. However, the Chinese government still imposes strict content restrictions on software that will see a ban on many games available on PS4, Xbox One and Wii U.

While the hardware black market will be hampered by this decision, China's black market for games is set to boom once the latest games consoles are made widely-available.

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