Almost 3 years after the Nintendo Switch’s wildly successful global launch, Tencent is helping the console finally make its way to China.
The partnership was officially announced at a joint press conference in Shanghai Friday, where it was announced that Tencent’s cloud infrastructure will power Nintendo’s online services in China. China is an isolationist country, so things in the Switch’s infrastructure had to be changed to keep the console’s introduction smooth and legal. Tencent will be operating a localized version of the eshop that will work with its WePay electronic payment service. Tencent intends to localize some of Nintendo’s most popular first-party games, as well as a few third-party titles. There’s a good chance that skeletons and other banned imagery will be removed from those games as well.
Tencent was said to help Nintendo with setting up a retail presence in the country, but it’s still unclear when Chinese consumers will actually be able to pick up a Switch in stores. The two companies haven’t shared a launch date for the Switch in China yet, and there’s no word on pricing either.
There were reports back in April that Nintendo was looking to sell the Switch in China. However, entering that market comes with some extra challenges: China’s censors have been notoriously slow in reviewing video games, and at one point even took a 9-month break during which no new games were approved for sale. Chinese regulators are looking to process around 3000 games this year, but are reportedly dealing with a backlog of over 7000 titles looking for approval.
Regardless of hardships, this is potentially a big win for Nintendo in driving Switch sales. We’ll keep you posted on any major updates.