With a billion potential gamers, it's easy to see why Sony (NYSE:SNE) looked forward to the launch of its PlayStation2 video game console in China this month. Given China's notorious knack for piracy, it's also easy to see why Sony did an about-face last week and delayed its entry into the world's most populous nation.

For software, movie, and music makers, China has been a tough nut to crack. And in those cases, piracy simply claims what would have been incremental sales. The stakes are much higher for the makers of video game systems.

Sony, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Nintendo accept the notion of selling their respective consoles at a loss, knowing that the real money is in royalties from software publishers. Oh, those blasted pirates! Dead men tell no tales and pay no licensing fees when the streets are lined with illegally copied titles.

Still, Sony is simply delaying its entry into China -- not shelving it forever. The country continues to import Western culture with plenty of McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and the next Disney (NYSE:DIS) theme park in construction. Then again, it's hard to pirate a Big Mac or Splash Mountain.

In fact, some of the best performing stocks this year have a Chinese pedigree. Web portals Sohu (NASDAQ:SOHU), Sina (NASDAQ:SINA), and NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES) have enjoyed great runs, driven by profitability.

It remains to be seen when -- and if -- China licks its rampant piracy, but the thirst for leisurely pursuits in China can't be ignored. Whether Sony has to wait for improvements in copy-protection technology or aim for a higher system price and bundle it with software, China will definitely be a game worth playing.

What do you think of the video game industry in China? What will it take to become a market worth entering? And here at home, just what were the hot software titles this holiday season? All this and more -- in the Video & PC Games discussion board. Only on Fool.com.