The figure means that Nintendo has already surpassed Sony and Microsoft as the biggest console seller in China, according to consultancy Niko Partners (via Reuters), when grey market sales are also taken into account.
Niko estimates that around 4 million Switch consoles have been sold in total, when Tencent’s 1m is combined with illegal grey market sales.
Switch officially launched in China in December 2019, after local regulators approved it for sale. Foreign game firms typically need to navigate complex regulations in order to release their products in China, with approval needed from various government bodies.
Consoles are considered niche in China, though the region is still the world’s biggest for games via its significant mobile and PC market. China had previously banned foreign companies from selling game consoles for more than a decade.
Most games published for the China Nintendo Switch are from local developers, Niko analyst Daniel Ahmad told Reuters.
“China is important to Nintendo because the country does not yet have a console culture in the same way that the U.S. or Japan does, which represents a growth opportunity for the company.”
It was reported in December 2019 that Tencent wants to develop console games using Nintendo characters in a bid to grow its business in the US and Europe.