Nintendo Answer Questions About Its Plans For China

Illustration for article titled Nintendo Answer Questions About Its Plans For China
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In the past, Nintendo released its consoles through a subsidiary called iQue. Even Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa recently admitted that they “cannot say these releases were a great success.”


In a recent Q&A for investors, Furukawa was asked about Nintendo’s plans for China. Why all the China questions? Because the Switch is finally going on sale there. Below are the most important takeaways from the Nintendo president.

Working with a local Chinese company:

It is true that Tencent Holdings Limited (“Tencent”) has applied for a game console review to launch Nintendo Switch in China, as disclosed on a Chinese government agency website. The reason for our collaboration with Tencent is because they hold one of the largest positions in China’s network communication and game marketplaces, which we think will allow us to maximize the expansion of our business there.

There are big expectations:

China is a huge market, so the expectations for our business there are probably very high. The reality, however, is that the Chinese game market is almost all mobile games and PC games. The market for dedicated video game platforms has not been very large, so we recognize that this will be a new challenge for us.

It’s still going to be difficult:

We recognize that the Chinese market is vast and attractive, but looking forward, we don’t expect our video game business in China to easily expand, given that our primary markets for dedicated video game consoles, Japan, the Americas, and Europe have been built over the course of more than 30 years. The launch timing for Nintendo Switch in China is not yet determined, so nothing in this area has been included in the financial forecast for the current fiscal year (ending March 2020).


What about mobile?

Actively using Nintendo IP includes the expansion of IP through our mobile business, theme parks, and other methods, but we are not currently able to discuss anything specific about our expansion in China. At this time, we are only announcing that a collaboration with Tencent has been underway regarding plans to sell Nintendo Switch in China, and we are not able to discuss any other aspects of that business.

Advertisement Nintendo going to work with Tencent for mobile in China?

I cannot say anything at this time about the possibility of our mobile business in China.

Discussions inside our company are ongoing, so we will share more information at a later time when we are able.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.



This will be an interesting thing to follow. As President Furukawa said, a big part of Nintendo’s enduring appeal and market share is down to decades of consumer familiarity and fondness; since they won’t have that platform to launch from in China, carving out a spot in a market dominated by other platforms (and with no real cultural touchstone for generations of gamers, like Mario) will be a significant endeavor.

Here’s hoping for their success.