Tencent, Nintendo to launch Switch console in China

The Nintendo Switch is a hugely popular console around the world, helped by family-friendly games

Chinese internet giant Tencent and gaming titan Nintendo on Wednesday announced plans to launch the Japanese company's popular Switch console in China from next week.

Expectations for the console's launch in the world's largest games market has helped to push up Nintendo's share price this year.

The console will be sold in China from December 10 for 2,099 yuan ($297), the companies said at a launch event in Shanghai.

"Nintendo has long hoped to provide Chinese consumers with Nintendo's games and entertainment, and now this dream has come true," said Shigeru Miyamoto, the renowned game creator of "Super Mario Bros" and "Donkey Kong", said in a video message.

Nintendo had said earlier this year that it was working with Tencent -- China's leading online video game company as well as a giant in messaging and myriad other apps -- to roll out the Switch in China.

The Switch has become a huge global seller, aided by the release of innovative, family-friendly titles that have been well-received by critics and gamers.

The console will come with "New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Edition" pre-installed, with "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Edition" and "Super Mario Odyssey" also available soon, company officials said.

Tencent added that it would work to "enrich" the console's game line-up, including with titles created by Chinese developers, and that up to 20 games could be available to play on Switch in 2020.

China in 2014 began easing a more than decade-long ban on consoles imposed out of concern over the negative impact gaming may have on children.

Tencent itself was hammered by a Chinese government games crackdown launched last year that led to a months-long licence approval freeze. The government again cited youth gaming addiction and other concerns as the reason.

The crackdown shaved around $250 billion off Tencent's stock market value by the end of last year.

China also last month imposed a curfew on gamers under 18.

Gaming analysts have said console-makers like Nintendo face an uphill climb in China, where smartphones have become the dominant gaming platform, due in large part to Tencent's success in online games.