PlayStation has steadily been growing in China, with many people finally getting the opportunity to experience the brand’s extensive library of titles. People can buy products from physical PlayStation stores, but the decorations for one seem to have confused which console manufacturer it should be promoting.
Video games in China have a long and strenuous history featuring innumerable bans and regulations on a hobby other parts of the world can enjoy much more freely. The Chinese government has great control over the gaming industry in the country, with everything from developers and esports, to more specifically the games and content available all have strict regulations. Last year the PS5 finally launched in China, bringing the highly-limited console to the nation several months after its original release in the rest of the world. Around the same time Microsoft also released its Xbox Series X/S console variants in China, though it was met with similar restrictions to PlayStation.
A new image from Daniel Ahmad shows a Chinese PlayStation store with standees of Mario and Bowser outside its front doors. Ahmad, a Senior Analyst at Niko Partners, typically covers the video game industry in China, having written many articles about the movements of Tencent, one of China’s largest game developers, and many other breaking stories. They caption the image of the PlayStation store stating, “Some unique decorations in front of this PlayStation Store in Guangzho, China,” with the standees of Wedding Mario and Bowser from Super Mario Odyssey ushering guests inside.
There is a degree of unspoken irony in the image that those familiar with the history of PlayStation and Nintendo may pick up on. Prior to the Nintendo 64 and original PlayStation, Sony approached Nintendo with its prototype of a disc-based console, proposing that it could assist in the next generation of Nintendo hardware. As history would show, Nintendo passed up on the offer, going on to make the cartridge-based Nintendo 64, while Sony would begin its gaming legacy with the original PlayStation. Out in the wild are still units from the original proposal, simply referred to as the Super Nintendo PlayStation, that features both a cartridge slot for SNES titles, as well as a disc drive for CD-ROMs.
With that in mind, to have some of Nintendo’s most iconic characters be placed outside a PlayStation store is pretty amusing, as if saying Nintendo is conceding to PlayStation. Whether it was intentional or some sort of oversight, it is currently unknown why those standees are there. Nintendo is pretty dominant in China’s video game market so perhaps PlayStation is using Mario for some free advertising of its own.