Today, Nintendo and Tencent announced the first details of the upcoming Nintendo Switch Chinese release. Tencent will localize some of the Switch’s “well-known” games into Simplified Chinese and provide servers and cloud services for the company. Chinese players will also be able to purchase games on the Nintendo eShop using Tencent’s WeChat payment system.
Nintendo and Tencent announced the plan at the ChinaJoy 2019 conference. The companies did not provide any specifics on games Tencent would be localizing, but Tencent did say it would bring “Nintendo games and other non-Nintendo-produced boutique games” to the console, according to a Google Chrome translation of the ChinaJoy announcement page. Additionally, no release date was revealed for the console, though Tencent did say ChinaJoy 2019 participants would be able to play Switch game demos at the conference.
According to The Verge, it has been previously announced that Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will receive Chinese releases, so it appears that Tencent will be bringing over significant first-party titles — perhaps in addition to hit indie games, according to that Google Chrome translation. Tencent was given permission by the Chinese government to distribute the Switch back in April, marking Nintendo’s first console approved for sale in China since the 3DS XL. At the time, Tencent also announced it would be bringing New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe to the country. The Nintendo Switch approval resulted in a 13% jump in Nintendo’s stocks at the time.
China has a long and complicated history of regulating games, especially those on consoles. Gaming consoles were banned altogether in China following a law passed in 2000. Still, the Xbox One was approved in 2014, and the PS4 and PS Vita came to China in 2015 after receiving government approval. The Chinese government then lifted the ban altogether in 2015, opening the door for companies like Nintendo to have a more direct path to distribution approval. Earlier this year, the Chinese government’s game regulation body announced new game approval guidelines, focusing on “game quality and content” and limiting game addiction.