TheGamingEconomy Daily Digest brings you the trending business stories in gaming. In today’s edition: Nintendo Switch to launch in China on December 10th; Mario Kart Tour is most downloaded game of 2019; and Owlcat Games raises USD$1m (£770,000).
Nintendo Switch to launch in China on December 10th
The Nintendo Switch will launch in China on Tuesday December 10th, according to an official news briefing which took place this morning. The console, which will be marketed as “The Tencent Nintendo Switch” will be priced at CN¥2099 (£229) and will be bundled with New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, a title which gained regulatory approval in October. Tencent and Nintendo are working with Chinese game developers as well as international studios on localised versions for the console, most notably Ubisoft is developing an exclusive title in the Rabbids franchise, though these have all yet to be approved by censors. It appears that customers can use game cards from other regions on the Tencent Nintendo Switch, though online services are likely to be region-locked by Tencent. Moreover, the console will support payments through Tencent’s WeChat.
While the localised version of the Switch has been mooted for some time, the timing of the release has surprised many analysts, with a launch date of February-March deemed as more likely. However, it seems that Tencent is looking to capitalise on its partnership with the Japanese gaming giant as swiftly as possible, with the firms also looking to reduce profits lost through grey market sales, despite the lack of regulatory approval for many of the collaborators’ planned titles.
Mario Kart Tour is most downloaded iPhone game of 2019
Apple has announced the most downloaded apps across iOS, with Mario Kart Tour the most popular game across iPhone. While exact statistics have not been released, the placing is impressive given that the free-to-play racing title was only released globally on 25th September. According to Sensor Tower estimates, Mario Kart Tour was the second-best performing game at launch after Pokemon GO, with 123.9 million downloads as of 28th October.
In terms of paid titles, established giants Minecraft and Roblox claimed the top slots for iPhone and iPad respectively.
Owlcat Games raises USD$1m (£770,000)
Owlcat Games has raised USD$1m (£770,000) from GEM Capital, with an additional undisclosed contribution from My.Games. The studio is best known for developing isometric role-playing title Pathfinder: Kingmaker, which was adapted from Paizo Entertainment’s tabletop RPG. The Moscow-based studio has announced that the funding will be used to finance an upcoming project which it will be publishing itself on an independent basis, marking a departure from the publishing agreement for Kingmaker it had with Deep Silver.
In a statement, Owlcat studio head Oleg Shpilchevsky said, “We have already moved to our new headquarters, where we are actively making a new home at this time. There is a lot of work to do, but we are sure that we can do it with the support of MRGV and GEM Capital”
Update: 14:15 GMT 04/12/2019 : Owlcat Games has announced its next project will be a second Pathfinder game, entitled Wrath of the Righteous