Tencent to bring Nintendo Switch consoles to Chinese gamers

This could be the first step toward a tighter partnership between the two video game companies.

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For Nintendo fans in China, Tencent has finally brought them some long-awaited good news. The Shenzhen-based Chinese tech behemoth has been given a green light to sell Nintendo’s Switch console and games.

Guangdong’s provincial government has granted Tencent a license to distribute the Nintendo Switch consoles and the New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe game, according to a notice published on the government website today.

Tencent was also handed a license by China’s market regulator to sell recreational equipment earlier this week.

A spokesperson at Nintendo said the company would collaborate in business with Tencent, the world’s largest gaming company. Though details of the cooperation between the two gaming giants have yet to be fully disclosed, it looks like a good match, industry observers told KrASIA.

“The cooperation is important for Nintendo because having Tencent acting as its agent is a guarantee for good sales,” said Liao Xuhua, a gaming industry analyst at Beijing-based data consultancy Analysys.

As for Tencent, it’s a very important step strategically, because working with Nintendo is a boon for Tencent’s reputation among gamers, giving the company a chance to shake off its copycat label, Liao said.

There are potential windfalls for Tencent too. “Tencent aims to capture the growth of the console game market besides its exceedingly strong achievements in China’s mobile game market, and to also mitigate the operational uncertainty after the government’s recent game license freeze,” said Zack Fu, founding partner of Guangdian Capital in Beijing.

Globally, Nintendo’s Switch console has been a huge success, with cumulative sales of 32.3 million worldwide as of the end of last year.

The tie-up between Tencent and Nintendo in China is still preliminary selling, according to Fu. “A close partnership on software, like distributing games on each other’s portal, is potentially a bigger play for both Tencent and Nintendo.”

 

Write to Luna Lin at [email protected]