With most of the world confined to their homes, the demand for the Nintendo Switch has hit the roof, resulting in a global shortage and rising prices in the local market. And while the Japanese gaming giant is already looking to produce a staggering 22 million units to alleviate the situation, there are some who are turning to possible alternatives, including the more affordable China-region Switch consoles.
It may not be well worth the risk, though. In a Facebook post by local game retailer Qisahn, the consoles are revealed to be S$200 cheaper than the official product, but come with a major drawback in tow: the region-lock feature.
What this means is that players will be unable to play with their friends, because it restricts the multiplayer space to only those in China. More importantly, there’s no workaround to the problem (for now), and even flashing the console to the international version would prove ineffective. The full extent of the problem is succinctly put across by Qisahn, “You cannot connect to the rest of the world online, and the rest of the world cannot connect to China.”
The official distributor for Nintendo Switch in China is Tencent, who has a strong presence in the gaming community with an estimated 40% ownership of Epic Games. If the console is accompanied by a free trial of Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, chances are that’s a China-region Switch.
It’s always good to check on the differences of a product, electronic device or not, before purchase, and this rings even more true for the Switch, especially with the desperation brought on by the sharp demand. Hold on a little longer, and it’ll be back to business for the first batch of Switch shipments, which are slated to go out from late April 2020 to mid-May.