The Switch may have sold like hot cakes in international markets since March 2017, but it has yet to reach stores in China. Nintendo has been working with authorities to bring the Switch to stores in the massive Chinese market though, and local tech giant Tencent is going to play a significant role in that process.
The companies announced on Friday that Tencent will handle Nintendo’s localization efforts for China. The company will even translate Nintendo’s games into Simplified Chinese, including popular franchises like Mario and Zelda. Moreover, Tencent will also work on setting up servers for the Switch via the Chinese company’s cloud business.
Tencent won a key approval to sell the Switch back in April, per Reuters, but the company is yet to announce an actual launch date for the console. Nintendo hasn’t shared a release date for China either.
It’s unclear at this time whether the Switch Lite will also be available for sale in the region now that Nintendo has formally introduced the new console and put it up for preorder. But all of Nintendo’s hardware will likely be approved for sale, considering the inner workings of the Switch consoles are virtually identical.
It’s not just the Switch hardware that needs to be approved for the Chinese market. Nintendo will also have to seek authorization to sell its games in the region, and that’s another area where the partnership with Tencent might come in handy. Tencent will also offer the WeChat Pay payment option to Nintendo Switch owners, which will work in the e-store as well.
Tencent, of course, isn’t a stranger when it comes to video games. The company is already an investor in Western game companies including Epic and Riot, and is responsible for mobile titles including PUBG Mobile.
As for Nintendo, breaking into the Chinese market might be a key move, no matter how difficult it is. China is, after all, the world’s biggest market, and it could help with Switch sales growth in the coming year, especially with newer consoles on the way from both Microsoft and Sony in late 2020.