Tencent to sell Nintendo Switch

Zhu Shenshen
Expectations are high for the video game console which will be available to buy on the Chinese mainland from next week along with a new game.
Zhu Shenshen

China’s Tencent is to sell Nintendo’s Switch game console on the Chinese mainland from next Tuesday, the company said on Wednesday.

Switch's debut, first announced during ChinaJoy in Shanghai this summer, is expected to inject fresh air into the Chinese game market, one of the biggest in the world.

The console will cost 2,099 yuan (US$300), with a new game — New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe.

More games, costing 299 yuan, are in the pipeline, including Japanese-based Nintendo's Super Mario and Pokemon Go series. 

About 20 games will be available for Switch next year. Future games will also come from Tencent and third-party firms including Chinese developers, according to Tencent. 

"Nintendo has long hoped to provide Chinese consumers with Nintendo's games and entertainment, and now this dream has come true," Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of "Super Mario Bros,” said.

Expectations of the console's launch have pushed up Nintendo's share price this year.

In the first six months, China’s game industry revenue reached 114 billion yuan, an 8.6 percent growth year on year. Shanghai now accounts for a third of the national revenue, according to the China Gaming Industry Report released during ChinaJoy.

Switch has become a huge global seller, aided by the release of family-friendly titles that have been well-received by critics and gamers.

By March next year, world sales of Switch will hit 18 million units, according to Nintendo.

In 2014, China began easing a more than decade-long ban on consoles imposed over concerns of the possible negative impact of gaming on children. 

Since then, Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation have been released on the Chinese mainland to a lukewarm market response. 

The Switch won’t have a huge influence on the Chinese gaming market, where mobile and computer games dominate, according to analysts.

But Tencent may change that situation as it has dominated the Chinese game market and channels. 

For example, consumers have high hopes of playing Tencent’s popular titles on Switch platform, such as the Honor of Kings, the most popular multiplayer mobile game in China.

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