Greetings to all Brazilian Nintendo fans! We are delighted to announce that #NintendoSwitch will soon arrive in Brazil!
Stay tuned to these channels for more information:
Instagram: https://t.co/Sp4HJFQA63 pic.twitter.com/0Ri5a8Vj6l
– Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) August 19, 2020
How did Brazilians access Nintendo products until now?
While there is a large gray market for Switch consoles and a system for buying games digitally, it has been five years since Nintendo stopped official sales of its products in Brazil. When it ceased operations in 2015, the company said its distribution model in the country had become unsustainable due to âchallenges in the local business environmentâ, such as âhigh import taxesâ. Because of this, Nintendo fans in Brazil have missed out on physical editions of major releases such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and PokÃ©mon Sun & Moon, as well as the New Nintendo 2DS XL.
Nintendo first established a distribution model in Brazil in 1993, when the company partnered with Gradiente and Estrela, which merged to become Playtronic. The company assembled consoles nationally – to avoid high import tax payments – and translated printed materials, such as manuals and packaging. Back then, the NES and SNES clone consoles were so popular that the official versions struggled to sell better than the fake ones.
For more than two decades, Nintendo has maintained part of its logistics in the country, changing its local distributors from time to time. Distribution was halted for two years during the GameCube era, between 2004 and 2006 – however, the biggest gap started when the company terminated its contract with Gaming do Brasil in 2015.
In the last five years until 2020, the only way for Brazilians to buy Nintendo products was through the gray market. Retailers and specialty stores had to import consoles, peripherals and games directly and because of this there were no fixed prices and some products had prices deemed excessive – a gray market Switch would sell up to at 4000 real (756 USD). Many players have found buying from overseas or importing themselves to be a more viable option.
Indeed, these gray market prices make the new official price of 2,999 reals seem much more reasonable. For comparison, it’s the same price as the PlayStation 4 Pro in Brazil; the standard PS4 sells for between 2,000 and 2,500 real, or around $ 378 to $ 470 US.
It wasn’t until 2018 that Nintendo took steps to move closer to the South American regional market again. During that year’s E3, the company exclusively revealed to IGN Brasil that it plans to launch Loja Nintendo, a website where fans can purchase Switch game download codes using the currency. local. Loja Nintendo has since seen its catalog expand and is now releasing games more quickly, in addition to offering pre-sale services. However, the catalog does not include all titles released on Switch, and games like Mario + Raving Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Spiritfarer are not available.
At the Brasil Game Show (BGS) 2018, the company announced a partnership with a local retail store to sell Nintendo Switch prepaid game cards, for players who had imported a console. Nintendo also had a booth at BGS 2019, which further fueled fans’ hopes.
Brazilian fans still don’t have a fully functional eShop – the app doesn’t include any searchable catalogs or other features besides redeeming codes for digital versions of the games.
Other problems that the Nintendistas face relate to technical assistance. Nintendo has only one certified repair center nationwide, located in the city of SÃ£o Paulo. Therefore, if a player wants their Joy-Con drift issue resolved, they will have to send it or come to town themselves.
How will the Switch arrive in Brazil?
According to van Zyll, when the Switch is officially released, Nintendo will keep its operating system “simple” at first. The company will work with two distributors – Rcell and Ingram Micro – as well as with large retailers such as Lojas Americanas, Magazine Luiza and Submarino. This lean approach aims to avoid the problems that led Nintendo to leave Brazil in 2015.
âWe tried different approaches which seemed to be right at the time , but we encountered different problems or challenges in each case, âexplains van Zyll. âSo what we did this time was we took another step back and we really looked at it and we went with a simple, straightforward, straightforward model and something that we think is will work and that we think we can build on. “
At this point, the company still has a long way to go to fully establish itself in Brazil. Economist Roberto Dumas believes that reactivating Nintendo’s operations in the country will lead to an overall improvement in the lives of customers, but he also warns.
âOne thing is certain: it will improve the well-being of the fans; otherwise there would be no reason, âhe says. âBrazil is a large consumer market: 68% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes from domestic consumption. We love to spend money, and Nintendo has most certainly noticed that people are buying more of their products during the pandemic, so they had to decide not to waste this good investment opportunity here. However, don’t expect too high, because now is not the time to establish a robust operation.
So why come back to Brazil now, five years after exiting the market and during a global pandemic? Van Zyll tells us: âThis has been in the works for some time. It did not happen overnight. We’ve been working on this for a while, really, for years, and we’ve taken our steps, our deliberate steps, that’s how Nintendo works.
According to the executive, the Brazilian market is very important for Nintendo. He explains that “Brazil is one of the top 10 economies in the world, it has 210 million consumers and it is the largest gaming market in Latin America”.
Van Zyll also mentions the passion of the Brazilian fans, the Nintendistas: âWhile we were working and trying to prepare for this, we continually heard from the Nintendistas. And I’ll tell you, every time I go to Brazil I get the chance to talk to people and just that the passion, the love that people have for Nintendo is so … it really hits you! Itâs quite an experience. I think it’s really unique. “
He adds: “Please don’t confuse us by arriving late in Brazil because Nintendo doesn’t care, because we absolutely do.”
Helena Nogueira is a writer for IGN Brasil.