When Arena of Valor was announced for the Switch in last week's Direct, we think it's fair to say that a number reading these pages simply shrugged. A free-to-play MOBA that made its name on mobile heading to the Switch as a Beta this year, it arguably wasn't among the biggest announcements in the broadcast from a fan's perspective.
However, in terms of share value, investors and a potential impact on Nintendo's future business, it was comfortably the most significant announcement. We looked at Nintendo's share value today and saw it had climbed a whopping 7.06% to 40,950 Yen when the markets closed in Tokyo. That's the highest it's been in nine years, a rather extraordinary statistic.
The share value has been trending high all year, but the image for the past month, below, gives you an idea of the size of the spike.
The reason Arena of Valor matters is that it's published by Tencent, and that Arena of Valor is actually one of the most popular games on smart devices in China, except there it's called Honor of Kings. According to some metrics and estimates it was the top grossing game in China during the second quarter of this year.
In analysis on The Wall Street Journal (paywall), this is highlighted as a potential starting point that could see Nintendo and Tencent work together on the Chinese market. This could mean publishing Nintendo's smart device games in China and perhaps releasing the Switch itself in the country, with WSJ citing "people familiar with the thinking of Nintendo and Tencent executives". Though Sony and Microsoft have taken their systems to China with limited success, the portable and tablet form of the Switch could favour it in the smart device-focused Chinese market.
The announcement of Arena of Valor for Switch is also seen as a move by Tencent to boost its presence in the West. It's the possibility of Nintendo's smart device apps (like Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes) in China that has investors buzzing, however. Though it's a tough market to penetrate, the revenues that success can bring in China could be a huge boost to Nintendo.
It is worth noting that Nintendo has released systems in China before with the iQue brand - these have included a plug-and-play Nintendo 64 and various portables based on the likes of DS and 3DS; they've all been limited devices with only a small number of games included.
It'll be interesting to see if Nintendo can make a breakthrough in China with the Switch and its smart device games; the very prospect of that success certainly has investors excited.