The Nintendo Switch console finally landed in China on Tuesday, and it’s already making a splash. JD.com said more than 105,000 reservations for the switch were made as of Monday evening, and Tmall reported over 10,000 units sold within the first few hours the game system was available on its website.
As the numbers rolled in this week, Nintendo’s shares rose about 2.5 percent to reach their highest level since May 2018. The Switch’s success comes even though it currently only offers players a single title: New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. The Switch now competes with the Xbox One X and Playstation 4, which offer users more games but have higher price points than the Switch’s 2,099 RMB (298 USD).
Nintendo worked with Chinese tech company Tencent to bring the console to the Chinese market, where consoles have faced an extended ban from 2000 to 2014. That ban and the high price of consoles are two factors that led to China’s gaming ecosystem evolving overwhelmingly around phone and PC games.
Many believe Nintendo faces an uphill battle in China’s gaming market, as players are used to the free access and limitless mobility of mobile games. But optimists point out that the Switch, which doubles as a portable hand-held device, also offers mobility; and several Nintendo universes, including Pokémon, Zelda and Mario, have existing fan bases that Nintendo can tap.
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