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China approves its first Nintendo Switch game, paving the way for hardware launch

China approves its first Nintendo Switch game, paving the way for hardware launch
An attendee plays on a Nintendo Switch during the 2017 E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. (Picture: Troy Harvey/Bloomberg)

We still don’t know when the Nintendo Switch will hit China. But it might come soon, because the country’s strict authorities have finally approved the first Switch game: New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. 

Nintendo announced in April that it had teamed up with Tencent to distribute the Switch in China, a country that once banned console gaming for 15 years. And there are signs it will happen soon: A “Nintendo Switch Flagship Store” recently appeared on China’s popular ecommerce site Tmall. (Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba, the operator of Tmall.)

But releasing anything in China is hard. Consultancy firm Niko Partners says that Nintendo and Tencent still require certain approvals for hardware, and even then will likely wait for more games to be approved before launch. But they’re still bullish that the console will be out within the next six months.

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