KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 ― The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has led to multiple cities in China being put in lockdown, while companies like Apple and Google have closed offices and stores in China. But it appears that those affected have found some respite from the bleak situation in technology — specifically, in video games. According to a report from Abacus, Nintendo’s new video game, Ring Fit Adventure, has been popular in certain parts of China due to the fact that it has an exercise element to it — just like Mario Tennis on the Wii U.
While the game hasn’t actually been launched in China yet, residents of cities in lockdown have been buying the game from resellers — commonly called “scalpers” in these situations — at some pretty steep prices. The game retails in the US for US$79.99 (about RM330), but prices on Chinese e-commerce sites like Taobao and JD have been seen to go up to CNY1,200 (about RM710).
Purchasers of the game have also been sharing videos of gameplay and of them playing the game on Chinese social media site, Weibo, and it appears that Nintendo could be seeing a rise in popularity of the game due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, Nintendo is reportedly expecting production issues, with the coronavirus outbreak affecting the manufacturing hub in China.
“We can confirm that the manufacturing of some Nintendo products for the Japanese market has been delayed due to the impact of 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak.”
As for Ring Fit Adventure, the game has sold 30,111 from 27 January-2 February, which puts them at number one on Famitsu‘s Japanese chart — just ahead of Pokemon Sword and Shield. The game is a successor to the original Wii Fit, and is an RPG that’s heavily based on peripherals. You put on a leg strap and a lage resistance ring, which connect to a Joy-Con controller — these help you to complete a variety of in-game tasks.
The idea is to keep active while playing a game, and it certainly looks interesting. Of course, games like 1-2 Switch never really took off, but perhaps the RPG nature of the game will make exercising fun.