Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊) and gaming titan Nintendo Co yesterday announced plans to launch the Japanese company’s popular Switch console in China from next week.
Expectations for the console’s launch in the world’s largest games market has helped to push up Nintendo’s share price this year.
The console would be sold in China from Tuesday for 2,099 yuan (US$297), the companies said at a launch event in Shanghai.
“Nintendo has long hoped to provide Chinese consumers with Nintendo’s games and entertainment, and now this dream has come true,” said Shigeru Miyamoto, the renowned game creator of Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong, said in a video message.
Nintendo had said earlier this year that it was working with Tencent — China’s leading online video game company as well as a giant in messaging and myriad other apps — to roll out the Switch in China.
The Switch has become a huge global seller, aided by the release of innovative, family-friendly titles that have been well-received by critics and gamers.
The console would come with New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Edition pre-installed, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Edition and Super Mario Odyssey also available soon, company officials said.
Tencent added that it would work to “enrich” the console’s game lineup, including with titles created by Chinese developers, and that up to 20 games could be available to play on Switch next year.
China in 2014 began easing a more than decade-long ban on consoles imposed out of concern over the negative impact gaming might have on children.
Tencent was hammered by a Chinese government games crackdown launched last year that led to a months-long license approval freeze. The government again cited youth gaming addiction and other concerns as the reason.
China last month imposed a curfew on gamers under 18.
Gaming analysts have said console-makers like Nintendo face an uphill climb in China, where smartphones have become the dominant gaming platform.
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