- Through a licensing deal with the chip manufacturer Nvidia, Nintendo is bringing major Wii and GameCube games to Android.
- The games are available through only the Nvidia Shield console and will be available “soon.”
- It’s unclear whether the games will be available on Android or iPhone in other parts of the world.
Major entries in the “Super Mario” and “Legend of Zelda” franchises are heading to Android for the first time.
In a surprising move, the Japanese gaming powerhouse Nintendo said it would licence major Wii and GameCube games to the chip manufacturer Nvidia. They aren’t going to Android smartphones, though, but the Android-powered Nvidia Shield set-top box, and they will be available only in China.
There will be a handful of Wii games, including “Super Mario Galaxy,” “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess,” “New Super Mario Bros.,” and “Punch-Out!!” More games are said to be “coming soon.”
The games are download-only, of course – the Nvidia Shield console is similar to a Roku or Apple TV in that it’s a small box unable to read physical media. Instead, you download or stream games, media, and music to the box through the internet.
In the case of the Shield, which is already available elsewhere in the world, Nvidia gave it more of a gaming bent. There’s an official gamepad, for instance, in addition to the standard remote control. You can also stream games to the console from your PC using Nvidia’s software.
When the Shield – which costs about $US225 – arrives in China, Wii games will cost about $US10. It’s unclear how much GameCube games will cost.
The news isn’t just a big deal for Nintendo fans in China, but for the company itself.
Game companies have a notoriously fraught relationship with the Chinese market, and the sale or distribution of many consoles in China isn’t allowed because of governmental restrictions. (It’s complicated.) Nintendo has in the past worked around them by partnering with a Chinese company named iQue.
Similarly, Nintendo is partnering here with both Nvidia and the Chinese streaming-video platform iQiyi to release its games in China – a smart move that enables Nintendo to push into one of the world’s largest gaming markets.
Check out a video of the Shield running Nintendo games:
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) December 5, 2017