Chinese Nintendo Switch Cartridges Are Region-Locked

China finally has access to the Nintendo Switch, but people will need to own a Switch made in the region if they want to import games, as the games intended for the Chinese version of the system are region-locked.

The Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U were both region-locked, which was an unpopular choice among the fans, especially in instances when English-language games were delayed between regions for a long time, like Shin Megami Tensei IV. The Nintendo Switch is region-free, which means that players can import physical cartridges from different countries, as well as create international accounts on foreign eShops in order to buy digital games.

Nintendo Switch China Cover

Related: Nintendo Switch Passes 50 Million Units Sold (In Less Than Three Years)

The Nintendo Switch is now available in China as part of a deal with tech giant Tencent. It turns out that the Tencent version of the Nintendo Switch has more restrictions than anyone realized, as Daniel Ahmad has revealed on Twitter that compatible physical cartridges for the Chinese Nintendo Switch will not work with the other versions of the system.

The majority of the Nintendo Switch games planned for the Tencent version of the system are games that are available in other regions, but there are plans for games developed exclusively for the Chinese market. If people outside of China want to play these games, then they will have to import a system as well, barring the use of homebrew software. The eShop on the Tencent Nintendo Switch is region-locked, which will severely restrict the number of games that players have access to in China. The Tencent version of the Nintendo Switch can play physical games made in other regions, but they cannot be played online, as they won’t be able to connect to any servers.

The ability to sell Nintendo Switch systems in China through the Tencent deal caused Nintendo’s stock price to shoot up in value, but the restrictions on the system’s library might prevent the Switch from finding an audience in the region. The launch library of the Nintendo Switch in China is incredibly bare, especially in comparison to the other systems available in the region, and the restriction on the physical cartridges and eShop might kill the system’s chances.

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