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China Is Nintendo’s Secret Weapon in War With PlayStation, Xbox


Incest aficionado
Nov 14, 2018

The Switch, distributed in the country by entertainment titan Tencent Holdings Ltd., has sold more than 1.3 million units this year through both legal and gray market channels, according to market tracker Niko Partners. That’s almost double the combined sales of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the period, pushing up the Switch’s lifetime China sales to nearly 4 million.

When compared to Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo has the best chance to seize the China market because its game characters and franchises are already well-known among Chinese consumers,” Ace Research Institute analyst Hideki Yasuda said.

LTD already outsold PS4 and Xbox One in China. Keep it up Nintendo!


Nov 19, 2019
They'd have to sell a lot of consoles. Chinese GDP per capita is actually pretty low.


Oct 20, 2014
With all the Japanese 3rd Party support Switch is going to get and the way Tencent is investing into Marvelous and Platinum games, Japanese game makers might hit the jackpot in the next few years. China is set to become Switch's 3rd biggest market in the World, and this will cause a major shift for companies which get the majority of its sales from the Asian market,

After all the following 10M+ games haven't launched officially in China:
- Breath of the Wild
- Splatoon 2
- Smash Ultimate
- Super Mario Party
- Pokemon Sword / Shield

This is one of the reasons I've always theorized that 2021 Switch sales >2020 Switch sales, and estimated that next year we would be heading towards >33M sales for the Switch:

So as expected 6M was a conservative estimation for the Quarter.

Even if we maintain a conservative outlook of 13M units for the holidays, that would be very close to 29M units for the calendar year

Q1 - 3.29M, Q2 - 5.67M, Q3 - 6.85M, Q4 ->13M = >28.81M / 81.3M

Next year Q1 and Q2 will probably be up YoY, due to COVID this year they couldn't supply enough to meet demand even for the New Horizon launch. There are also additional markets where they will continue to see the growth that Nintendo entered this year, for example recently it was noted that Switch is catching up very quickly to the PS4 in China, they are already the dominant dedicated platform in Taiwan and South Korea, re-entered Brazil a few months ago etc. The new consoles will not impact them while PS5 will have subpar performance and support in Japan. The vast majority of Japanese 3rd Parties will be reluctant to support the new consoles as it means taking pretty substantial gambles - Square Enix for example really underperformed this quarter because of Marvel's Avengers, unless Sony or Microsoft are footing the bill - I don't see them rushing to support next-gen. Bandai had a bunch of PS4 exclusives this year and all underperformed, while Sega hasn't really built an audience on the platform in any meaningful way and despite this Mario & Sonic at the Olympics is probably their biggest game in over a decade.

Overall this holiday Quarter and next year will be full of mid-sized and huge third party games, which will be especially impactful in Japan, this year the Top Selling 3rd Party games on the Switch in Japan will be Momotaro(Konami), Age of Calamity(Koei Tecmo), eBaseball(Konami), Minecraft(Microsoft).
Starting November we are finally starting to see the type of support we should expect for the platform that has close to 90% of the Dedicated Video game market in Japan. A lot of mid-sized efforts, starting with SMT III, which launched this week with >50K sales on the Switch. Also a fair few exclusives for the Platform,

2020 & 2021 Switch line-up
- Shin Megami Tensei III(Atlus) - multiplat
- Pikmin 3 Deluxe (Nintendo) - exclusive
- Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin
(Marvelous) - multiplat
- Age of Calamity(Koei) - exclusive
- Momotaro(Konami) - exclusive
- Fitness Boxing 2(Imagineer) - exclusive
- Atelier 2(Koei) - multiplat
- Derby Stallion(Game Addict) - exclusive
- Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory(Square) - multiplat
- Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack(Bandai) - exclusive
- Puyo Puyo 2(Sega) - multiplat
- Immortals Fenyx Rising(Ubisoft) - multiplat
- BOND(Koei) - exclusive
- Disgaea 6(Nippon) - multiplat
- Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury(Nintendo) - exclusive
- Bravely Default 2(Square) - exclusive
- Story of Seasons Olive Town(Marvelous) - exclusive
- Monster Hunter Rise(Capcom) - exclusive
- Balan World(Square) - multiplat
- Rune Factory 5(Marvelous) - exclusive
- SMT V(Atlus) - exclusive
- No More Heroes 3(Marvelous) - exclusive
- Monster Hunter Stories 2(Capcom) - exclusive

- 4
Koei Tecmo - 3
Square - 3
Atlus - 2
Capcom - 2

Nintendo entering an unprecedented dominant position in Japan, where there is no successful Playstation console or portable, so some third parties might not even bother porting their AA to the Sony ecosystems. PS5 will see a further decline from the PS4 and a lot of PSP/PS Vita focused studios have already transitioned to the Switch.
The situation on the Japanese market is entering a pretty substantial shift especially for Capcom, Koei, Marvelous, Konami. Next year there will be a multi-million-selling game in Monster Hunter Rise, which will catapult Capcom to the Top spot as far as 3rd Parties on the Switch. Momotaro, and Age of Calamity will be the biggest games for their Publishers in Japan for over a decade. Marvelous has made a full shift towards the Switch and Olive Town and Rune Factory 5 are likely to be the biggest games in those franchises. Atlus will get a big push by Nintendo for SMT V. Bravely Default 2 will see growth compared to its predecessor and should have no problems surpassing 2M sales WW.
This will impact the rest of the Asian markets which are already trending pretty heavily towards Nintendo, and we still don't know what will launch as far as 1st Party and 2nd Party titles from Nintendo and Pokemon Company. Pokemon Snap for example could be a pretty big hit, Bayonetta 3 should be pretty close to being ready to launch. Breath of the Wild 2 would probably have the highest launch in the franchise's history.

So to me, it seems that Switch will be close to flat in Japan next year, will have its peak year in Asia, will probably see expansion in some developing markets, while in the West the holiday season might give us an idea of what to expect in 2021.
Personally, I think 2021 will be the peak calendar year for the Switch, this year there was huge demand that could not be met, New Horizon & Ring Fit Adventure will continue to attract new audiences over the holiday and into 2021, while Monster Hunter Rise, steady releases of 3rd Party games, and most of all hardware supply will ensure that in Q1 and Q2 are up YoY. Q3 will be either flat or down but I don't see how there isn't a huge holiday game on the Switch next year. Whether it's Breath of the Wild 2 or something else remains to be seen. But this year Nintendo are in an unprecedented situation pushing a Koei Tecmo game for the holidays, so Koei is in a very fortunate position and Breath of the Wild 2 will likely help Age of Calamity remain relevant into 2021.

Q1 - >6M, Q2 - >6M, Q3 - >6M , Q4 ->15M = >33M / >114.3M
Last edited:

Poké Maniac

Dec 4, 2020
My hope is that Japanese mentorship and Chinese capital will produce fun and innovative big budget games to compete with the boring, ugly, and pretentious big budget games of the West.
  • Triggered
Reactions: thismeinteil

Lionel Richie

Jun 22, 2014
Go back to Mexico.

Average american:

Average chinese:



Oct 22, 2013
1,3 millions consoles sold in China... please be excited! 🤣😂🤣
For the chinese market is pretty good. We're talking about a market where mobile gaming reigns supreme.

I think Nintendo will double down on the Chinese market. They're just like the japanese in that regard, they love the portability. The amount of people I see playing on their phones here is fucking crazy.

But that also brings the question if a separate machine apart from their phones is tempting enough.
  • Thoughtful
Reactions: DrAspirino


Jan 5, 2012
Remember when Xbox One was supposed to hit that 1% adoption in China? :D

Well this time it might happen actually since 1300k would be 10% of that target in a year.


Sep 17, 2005
China fundamentally lacks a real going culture, so the more mature oriented products of Sony and MS may struggle more than Nintendo if they can get in and popular with kids there

Mike Zhang

Nov 9, 2013
There are plenty of console gamers in China. PS4 and xbox are home consoles, of course you won't see people playing them on bus and subway.


Oct 22, 2013
There are plenty of console gamers in China. PS4 and xbox are home consoles, of course you won't see people playing them on bus and subway.
There's actually plenty of pc gamers in china, not console ones. Mobile and PC reign in China.

Games like PUBG, Overwatch and LoL are their go-to games.