The Chinese Nintendo Switch has barely been out for a year in the country and a downside has already emerged — for the West. Cartridges are going to be region-locked.
According to Niko Partners Senior Analyst Daniel Ahmad, the upcoming cartridge release of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is going to be restricted to working on the Tencent-backed version of Nintendo's hybrid handheld console.
However, the reverse won't necessarily be true. Western games can work on the Chinese Nintendo Switch. Players just might not be able to connect to Tencent's online services. Things won't work in the other direction, though — those of us in the West who might want to import a game to play on our Nintendo Switch consoles will be out of luck.
Rabbids Game Likely to Be Exclusive to The Chinese Nintendo Switch
A Chinese-exclusive Raving Rabbids game was announced by Ubisoft at the end of last year and it may very well be truly exclusive under these new rules. Here's what Mr. Ahmad had to say about the whole scenario:
PSA for Nintendo Switch owners:
Game cartridges released for the Tencent Nintendo Switch will not work on global Nintendo Switch consoles.
For example, NSMBU Deluxe will be published on Jan 15th by Tencent in China. This cartridge will ONLY work on the Tencent Nintendo Switch.
This isn't a big issue for most games, given you can simply buy the global version of NSMBU Deluxe. But it would be an issue for China exclusive games.
For example, Rabbids Adventure Party is currently set to be China exclusive. You would not be able to use that cartridge.
That being said. Chinese users can import any global cartridge and use it in their Tencent Nintendo Switch. They just won't be able to connect to Tencent servers for online services/play.
The move, while disappointing, is understandable considering the strict regulations that the Chinese video game industry has to adhere to. Those of us who might have been hoping to import games, however, will likely also have to import the consoles to play them.
What do you think of Chinese Nintendo Switch games likely being unplayable on Western consoles? Do you think there will be any Chinese exclusives produced that you would like to play? Let us know in the comments below!