More than four years after the console ban in China was lifted, the Nintendo Switch will finally officially release in the country on Dec. 10. The console will be sold at 2,099 yuan, which would be around $298 in U.S. currency today.
A trial version of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe will be included, and owners can download the full game at the eShop for 299 yuan, which would be around $42. Other games coming at launch are Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee.
Nintendo is releasing the Switch in China under the partnership of Tencent, a multinational conglomerate based in China. Tencent is one of biggest gaming companies in the world. Even with the console ban, China flourished to become the biggest market for video games in the world, even surpassing the U.S. market by a large margin. This is mostly due to how PC gaming and mobile titles have become increasingly popular in the country as the new millennium began.
The console ban in China was set into place in the year 2000, as the government felt that gaming consoles were detrimental to youth’s growth and learning capabilities. However, several companies were able to work around the ban. The company iQue rebranded many Nintendo consoles, renaming and modifying them enough to bypass the country’s laws. Many gaming consoles were also sold under the black market, and many gamers were able to download emulators of games through their PCs.
The ban was eventually lifted in 2015, with the law being alleviated in the previous year. Microsoft and Sony quickly took advantage of this, and released the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, respectively, in China for the first time (officially, at least) in years. VentureBeat initially reported that the Xbox and PlayStation weren’t doing too well in China after they were first released, possibly due to the fact that the Chinese audience has gotten so used to PC and mobile gaming. The consoles have since been able to grow in the Chinese market.
Nintendo Switch has recently had its best sales week ever in the U.S., thanks to Black Friday. The Switch continues to sell exceptionally well, and we’re very interested to see what kind of the sales it will have once it officially hits China and its nearly 1.39 billion citizens.