The Nintendo Switch, which beat the PlayStation 4 as the best-selling console in the United States last year, will soon enter the Chinese market through a partnership with Tencent.
Nintendo and Tencent were at ChinaJoy 2019, the largest gaming and digital entertainment expo in Asia, to unveil details on the strategy for releasing the Nintendo Switch into China.
Tencent will take charge of localizing Nintendo’s presence in China, including translations for Nintendo Switch games into simplified Chinese. This includes titles in the Super Mario and Legend of Zelda franchises, with Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild headlining the console’s offerings.
Tencent will also be setting up servers in China for Nintendo Switch Online through its cloud business, and the console’s eShop will be modified to accommodate purchases through the WeChat payment system.
The collaboration between Nintendo and Tencent was first revealed in April when Guangdong authorities granted approval for Nintendo Switch sales in China. However, with several layers of regulatory approval left, there remains no specific date for the sales to start, nor a price tag for the console in the country.
Breaking into the Chinese market requires jumping through a lot of hoops, but it will likely be all worth it for Nintendo. China is the world’s biggest gaming market, so Nintendo Switch sales are expected to leap to greater heights. In addition, there is perhaps no better partner for Nintendo’s entry into China than Tencent, which has major investments in developers such as Riot and Epic Games. The Chinese internet company is also behind titles such as Honor of Kings and PUBG Mobile.
It is unclear if the Nintendo Switch Lite will also go on sale in China alongside the original version of the console, which received a battery upgrade to allow it to last up to 9 hours while in handheld mode.
Nintendo is also said to be planning to upgrade the original console with a new processor and flash storage, according to a filing with the Federal Communications Commission. The filing specifically requests a “Change of SoC” type and a “change of NAND Memory type.”