The hit Nintendo Switch game Ring Fit Adventure is finally available in China, but the country’s largest e-commerce platforms suspended pre-orders less than two days after pre-orders started. The game went up for pre-order at midnight on Thursday, but the option was removed the following day.
JD.com and Alibaba Group Holding’s Tmall have disabled the option to pre-order the popular exercise game, which sells for 499 yuan (US$72) and officially releases on September 3. Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.
The two online retail platforms had received tens of thousands of pre-orders before the suspension, with JD.com getting more than 31,500. Electronics retailer Suning still has the option to pre-order available on its site, having received more than 9,000 pre-orders.
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It remains unclear why pre-orders have been suspended or how many game units were available for sale. JD declined to comment for this story, and Alibaba wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Ring Fit Adventure is different from many other games on Nintendo’s latest console because it’s bundled with unique controllers necessary to play it. As with other games, players still get the game from the local Nintendo eShop with the included download code. But they also need the Ring-Con controller and leg strap that will ship to buyers after the game’s release.
Ring Fit Adventure first launched internationally last October, becoming a breakout hit during the Covid-19 pandemic as people looked for ways to stay active indoors. It was only on Wednesday night that Tencent Holdings announced that it would be releasing the game in China, where the company is Nintendo’s official partner.
Tencent declined to comment on Friday.
Strong demand in China is similar to what happened internationally earlier this year. The game was often out of stock in stores worldwide, sending prices shooting up from resellers. Even without government approval for sale in China until this month, prices of the game also skyrocketed in the country thanks to grey market copies sold online.
While the original retail price of the game was US$79.99, scalpers have been selling Ring Fit Adventure on Chinese e-commerce sites for more than 700 yuan. At the height of its popularity, prices surged to over 2,000 yuan, with counterfeit Ring-Cons becoming a hot commodity and selling out at one point.
Some of the demand this week might stem from the game’s earlier popularity. Reactions on social media suggest that some Chinese gamers pre-ordering Ring Fit Adventure are buying it for the second or third time. Apparently, what they are really after is a new Ring-Con controller because their old ones have worn out. “I’ve bought this too because my Ring-Con controller at home is broken,” one Weibo user wrote.
While the Ring-Con controller will work with any Switch, the downloaded game can only be played on the Chinese version of the console that is distributed by Tencent. But early sales of Ring Fit Adventure could be good news for the Chinese Switch, giving the console a much-needed shot in the arm. Since the Switch launched in China last December, sales have been hampered by the console’s lack of games.
While the Switch has hundreds of titles available overseas, only 10 games are currently available on the eShop in China. And until May, it only had three games available. As with other consoles in China, the domestic Switch is also segregated from the rest of the world, keeping gamers from playing with people elsewhere.
More from South China Morning Post:
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- Ring Fit Adventure gets an official release for the Chinese Nintendo Switch courtesy of Tencent
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