The Chinese market is potentially hugely lucrative, but the country's laws and logistical challenges make it a tough market to crack, especially for console manufacturers. There have been some efforts by Sony and Microsoft with their hardware, but little suggestion over the past couple of years that either company has enjoyed a major breakthrough. The high price of the systems (when Chinese consumers are familiar with cheaper gaming options) and difficulty getting some game content approved are among the challenging factors at play.
Nintendo stated it was exploring options a few years ago but, in summary, has made no discernible moves in hardware for China in the past few years. Earlier this year, though, New Super Mario Bros. (the DS original) was approved for sale in the country, and that was speculated to be part of a content sharing agreement between NVIDIA and Nintendo. The two companies now have a strong relationship through the supply of Tegra technology on the Switch, and it seems NVIDIA is bringing its Shield hardware into China. The suggestion is that Nintendo may allow NVIDIA to publish select games on the Shield, but this would only be in China.
As a follow-up, now The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has been approved for the Chinese market, as shown by Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad.
It's an interesting potential route into the Chinese market for Nintendo, and a chance to partner with NVIDIA to get key (albeit old) releases onto hardware. In other major territories Nintendo tightly controls content to promote and support its own hardware, of course, so these potential releases through Shield would be specific to the challenging market in China.
It'll be interesting to see whether these listings do emerge as full releases in China - as an enormous economy with a growing games industry, both Nintendo and NVIDIA may be looking to earn some welcome extra revenues.
Is the Sheild a popular device in China then? This could make it popular I guess. This is going to be so interesting to see what develops.
What a lucky gift it was to not be born in China. I wouldn't want to wait until 2028 to play BotW.
As a resident of China, it's very easy to get games and consoles here. Just look on TaoBao, for example. The only thing that may be different in this regard could be a Mandarin translation, not that the Chinese seem to mind playing in English/Japanese.
Cool. I never ever ever want to see Nintendo go 3rd party but, it would maybe be a good thing to release some of their games on PC maybe a year or so after the console versions. That way console sales wouldn't be affected by the PC versions. Maybe drop TP HD and DKC Trop Freeze. They would no doubtly sell well.
It's time to show China that E3 trailer.
The console grey market is huge in China - it's very easy to find anything you want to, and it's an official release as well. I've lived there for a year and had no problem finding 3ds, including special and limited editions and different regions.
The problem is there's no official vendor. Most of the transactions go through private sellers who import the consoles and then sell them online on taobao. The point is, I'm sure there is no problem in getting Switch (or Wii U) in China with all the different games if one desires.
Hopefully that means a Switch port could be on the way (I'm afraid I'm that person who didn't like BotW).
@mateq Interesting. I'd assumed consoles were treated effectively as contraband and procuring consoles and games there would be a dangerous proposition that would not be performed in the light of day let alone a website everyone has heard of!
I'm glad I wasn't born in China, despite I am a descendant of Chinese people in Indonesia (My Grandma was from Guan Dong, my Grandpa is from Indonesia).
Gaming in China is really sucks...
Not cool at all.
@NEStalgia That's actually not the case. When I lived in China, a lot of my friends have 3DS that they bought either online or when they traveled to HongKong/Japan. The thing is, since China is closer to Japan, they actually got a lot more options than us who live in NA or Europe... Some of my Chinese friends bought Persona 5 and started playing it right after it was released in Japan - that's a whole year earlier than any of us here...
It's the price that stopped most people from buying. Chinese Games, like PC game Gu Jian Qi Tan, are only sold at a price of 75 yuan (10 dollars), which is the normal price for games in China. People just don't see a reason to buy console games from Sony/MS, comparing they are sold at a much higher price of 59.99/49.99/39.99 dollars.
And I think that's another reason why the Chinese market is so hard to crack. Companies like Sony and MS still want to keep their price tags in China. Instead of selling 100 copies and get 1000 dollars from Chinese consumers, they still choose to sell only one copy and get 50 dollars. They completely overlooked the power of population there lol.
And what is really interesting is, the Japanses version of Fire Emblem Echoes, actually has Chinese (both simplified and traditional) language option. Why would they go so far by adding another language when 3DS is region locked? It's probably because there's a high demand in China.
That should also tell you that the gaming market in China is not what some of you think it is. It's not completely dark and gloomy.
Hmmm I wonder if this means that Nintendo games might come to Xbox or PlayStation as well?
If they do port Twilight Princess to the Shield, hopefully this means they'll port the game to the Switch.
@RGnsd That's very interesting. So it's not actually illegal to sell them there for importers? Or is it just a grey market that's willfully ignored for enforcement? (I.E. do sellers have to hide they are importing/selling them and/or keep changing websites or is it all totally in the open? )
That's also a good point on pricing. Tricky though. If you sell cheap in one region because of population, then why not all regions and leverage lower margins, greater sales. But than that's the discount superstore sales model which is high risk for permanently reducing the value of the product (heading toward mobile market type philosophy.) And of course region locking would have to be brought back if they did it China-only. But that might not play well worldwide to see the company selling a product at 1/6 the price only on one country. "They have more people" wouldn't matter as consumers would demand the lower price they know is possible, and if selling cheap to all the people in one country is profitable, why not cheap for the world? That makes it so obvious why so many companies ignore china or just produce a whole different product range there. It's a can of worms for every other market just to gain that one.
New Super Mario Bros. was already available in China, via the iQue DS that was released in 2005. Nintendo has historically made deals with iQue, but I could see a quid-pro-quo deal between Nintendo and Nvidia being possible since they're such good chums now.
I'm sure somewhere down the line we'll see Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword on the Switch. I'd bet the Switch will see almost all zelda games by the time it's done.
@NEStalgia It's totally in the open. Taobao is like Ebay here. Individual sellers can import and sell games on the website. And the website even has different categories like "JP ver/NA ver/EU ver/HK ver/TW ver" for different sellers and buyers. And surprisingly the government showed fully support for the website and its parent company. But since it's like Ebay, it not very easy to regulate. In that sense, it's like a grey area?? I mean, some people on ebay are also kinda shady.
Amazon JP also offers global shipping to China on console games. People can also just buy on Amazon JP and pay taxes to import games themselves. There's nothing wrong with that.
Every market is different. Government on one hand is hard to deal with. But on the other hand, a company has to meet the consumer's needs to actually generate profits. And when satisfying one market (like potentially lowering price in China to push sells) will jeopardize other markets(consumers in other countries will definitely get upset), things just get tricky. From a business's point of view, a company would stay away from that market as long as possible.
How would the games look on the Shield..?
I feel sorry for the Chinese, although they were put to the task of slave labor to manufacturing products for the Wii U, Dreamcast, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One overseas, in China they hardly ever get to play these products at all.
Soooo, BOTW in 2030?
@RGnsd It's stunning to hear it's really open like that. Everything I'd heard until now painted a picture very different where if it wasn't a domestically made game/console it was illegal, and while I imagined an underground that was actively selling/buying games, I pretty much figured they were taking their lives into their hands. Support of TaoBao seems uncharacteristically open of the government. It makes me wonder if either the operators of it have managed a very "favorable" arrangement, or it's more about saving face rather than inevitably showing a failure of their omnipotence when they fail to fully control it.
@RGnsd Exactly, and let's not forget Nintendo emphasized the fact Pokémon Sun and Moon are the first games in the series to support both Chinese languages. I mean, I'm not really sure how the gaming market works there, I just know it works differently from everywhere in the world and console gaming is not really popular, but if Nintendo officially released the games in Chinese I guess they had their reasons to believe Chinese people would buy them.
This is a smart move.. I wouldn't bet against one of China's bigger players to provide a platform for Nintendo to deliver their titles.. Tencent is ridiculously huge..
It would, actually, be quite negative for Nintendo. If they started to publish games on PC, even if it is a year later, many people would prefer to wait and not invest in hardware, which goes against Nintendo's philosophy of "software sells hardware".
Console sales WILL be affected, so better kill the though of seeing Nintendo software in PC in any official way.
Like I said when NSMB was approved for sale in China, welcome to 2006.
@gaby_gabito i hope it doesn't
It sucks that they have waited this long for it but I guess it's a win win. Nintendo gets to make some cash and China gets an awesome game.
I want china to make their own brand of cheaper console and games and import them to the west.
I hope that means that these games will come to Switch as well.
TFW China gets a better 'new' Zelda game than you.
Someone needs to make a movie about trying to get Far Cry 4 published in China. It would be Too Good.
@NEStalgia Because the huge population and all the people shop on Taobao, its parent company developed this service kinda like PayPal called AliPay. But besides just buying things on its own website, you can also transfer money to different banking accounts, buy train/flight tickets, pay your rent and utilities, buy lotteries and insurances, invest in small businesses or get financial aids, call taxis/uber and even donate to charities. Last year when I went to visit friends there, we went out for a whole day without reaching to our wallets - everything, from food in fancy restaurants to fresh flowers from street vendors, can be paid by scanning QR codes with Alipay on my friends' smartphones. It kinda changed the way people purchase services and products in China. Since it encouraged people to consume stuff and boosted the economy so much, the government invited the CEO to various summits/conferences to discuss how they can help each other. So did they have an agreement? Probably.
However, I don't think selling imported games is actually a concern on the government's mind. They do have guideline on how and what you can import to the country. I hate to say this......but they probably just never thought gaming industry is a big deal until recent years. :/ They never had (and still don't have) anything like ESRB or PEGI. So instead of making a rating system to make it easier for foreign companies to come and publish games officially, they just cut everything off and allowed people to import games on their own. Weird, huh?
I am so glad I don't live in China. Only having NSMB and Twilight Princess is depressing.
For people who don't know, you can get whatever console/game you want with decent price, and sometimes you get them earlier. The only problem is that they don't have official costomer support, but then again, there's no short of people tapping into that business. Gamers here don't give a crap about government approval, they can't stop us, and we've been having fun for years.
I live in China, and can honestly say that both Microsoft and Sony have had no success here. There is little interest in consoles in the wider population, they are simply too expensive for the everyday person. There is, however, a large group of gamers across the country who do play, and Nintendo is growing in popularity. These people buy from independent sellers, who usually sell from tiny shops. You can easily buy the switch, Xbox one and PS4 here if you know where to look. These sellers import from Hong Kong, so if people do want games and consoles they'll buy the real deal, not something made just for China. They're a passionate group, and will only settle for the real thing. The only way that Nintendo, Microsoft or Sony are going to make money here is if China eases its laws.
Thanks for sharing all those who have experience gaming in China. Comments have been a fascinating read.
@RGnsd Ahh, that makes it a lot clearer. If that company is facilitating the authoritarian dream of cashless, single-source currency and effectively funneling every single financial transaction data at every level from investments to street vendors for almost every person.....that's an invaluable service for that government and has no doubt been accepted as "unofficially officially part of government".... That definitely explains why they'd so willingly look the other way in an area that would be the last place I expect them to. Thinking of it through that angle, it's also depressing how much, and how rapidly we're adopting the same exact system of rule on this side of the world. Then again, that system of rule originated on this side of the world anyway.
Tap here to load 37 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...