Nintendo Switch is finally coming to China, with Tencent as the approved distributor.
On Thursday, Chinese authorities in the province of Guangdong authorized Tencent Holdings to distribute the Nintendo Switch console preinstalled with a test version of the New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.
A Huge Market For Nintendo
This is going to be huge for Nintendo as the Chinese market is currently the largest in the world valued at $38 billion in 2018. The U.S. video game market was only almost half of it that same year, which is valued at $19 billion. After the Tencent partnership announcement, Nintendo’s stocks went up by 14 percent.
“Launching the Nintendo Switch in China is a massive opportunity for both Nintendo and Tencent,” said Gu Tianyi, a market analyst from gaming industry analytics firm Newzoo.
Tianyi mentioned the difficulty of selling PlayStation and Xbox consoles in China, in contrast to Nintendo’s popular titles and Switch’s mobile gaming capability.
“The mobile aspect of the Switch is a great fit for China’s mobile-first culture,” he said.
Despite this huge market, Chinese gamers tend to prefer playing games on either a mobile device or PC. The ban on video game consoles in China has something to do with this. Enacted in 2000, the Chinese government believed that consoles had an adverse effect on the youth until it was repelled in 2015.
Sony and Microsoft then brought their consoles immediately, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, respectively. Strict censorship laws hampered the sales of their titles, however. The Chinese government refused to let them sell some popular games such as Grand Theft Auto V and Call of Duty.
Nintendo games, however, may have more luck since many of their titles are family-friendly. Nintendo previously sold gaming devices Nintendo 64 and 3DS XL in China by using the brand called iQue.
Rumored Nintendo Switch Variants
The report, however, did not say if what version of the Nintendo Switch is coming to China, whether it is a higher-end model or low-end model.
The higher-end model of the Nintendo Switch will reportedly boast enhanced features, but it will not be as powerful as the PlayStation 4 Pro or the Xbox One X. The low-end model will be sold at a lower price, which is designed for casual players. Reports also said that it will be the successor to Nintendo’s handheld 3DS device.
The low-end version is rumored to arrive this Fall while the higher-end version of the console will not be out until next year. Nintendo is still testing out of the model’s new features and the several changes in the operating system, which would explain the delay.