Nintendo has now legitimately shipped 1 million Nintendo Switch consoles to China since its official launch in late 2019, Chinese partner Tencent announced. The figure means that Nintendo has already surpassed Sony and Microsoft as the largest console seller in China, according to consultancy Niko Partners (via Reuters), when gray market sales are also taken into account.
The Nintendo Switch was officially launched in China in December 2019, after local regulators approved it for sale. Foreign gaming companies generally need to navigate complex regulations to launch their products in China, with the necessary approval from various government bodies. Consoles are considered a niche in China, although the region remains the world’s largest in gaming through its significant mobile and PC market. China had previously prohibited foreign companies from selling game consoles for more than a decade.
To date, Nintendo’s Chinese partner Tencent has released 13 games, including Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. However, some of Switch’s biggest global hits, like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, have yet to be approved for release in China. Most of the games published for China’s Nintendo Switch are from local developers, Niko analyst Daniel Ahmad told Reuters.
“China is important to Nintendo because the country does not yet have a console culture in the same way as the United States or Japan, which represents a growth opportunity for the company.”
In December 2019 it was reported that Tencent wants to develop console games with Nintendo characters in an attempt to grow its business in the US and Europe.