Right, we’re sure you’ve seen your fair share of Nintendo Switch sales posts over the last few months, but this one reveals some interesting info. The Switch launched in China in late 2019, a region slowly opening up to things like video game consoles. Well, in just over a year, Nintendo has become the solidified market leader.
Part of that is due to selling 1 million consoles since launch, according to its Chinese partner Tencent. Tencent is a huge deal in China (and everywhere else at this point), being one of the country’s largest players in the video game industry. Nintendo sees growth opportunity in China due to consoles not having an established foothold, and Tencent has helped it break into the market.
Now, we did report sales at 3.95 million for the region last month. However, Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad offers up an explanation on the gap between one and almost four million. Around three in every four units sold in China have been via gray market imports. These sales are part of the reason why Nintendo has become the market leader. However, 1 million sales in an official capacity is not to be sniffed at, and it’ll be interesting to see how the market evolves as the Switch matures.
We estimate, when accounting for grey market units imported into Mainland China since 2017, that the total installed base of the Nintendo Switch in the country is over 4 million units.
It is already the market leader in China.
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) January 11, 2021
The nature of the system itself is somewhat different in China. If games are to be bought and sold domestically, it must occur via official regulators, and some of Nintendo Switch’s biggest games have yet to pass through it. These include The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which would no doubt be popular in the region if released officially — hence the popularity of importing.
Nintendo is projecting roughly 24 million sales of Nintendo Switch hardware by the end of the fiscal year, and China will now hold a chunk of those sales.