Splatoon 3 didn’t officially launch in China—but that hasn’t stopped streamers from pulling in big numbers

Splatoon 3 is one of China's most streamed games despite the circumstances.

Image via Nintendo

Nintendo’s Splatoon 3 has made a splash since launching on Sept. 9, quickly rising as one of the Switch’s most played releases. On top of crossing millions of downloads across the U.S. and Japan, Splatoon 3 has already emerged as one of the most-viewed games in China, where the title has yet to officially release.

The third-person paint shooter saw an overwhelmingly positive reception upon its release. Only days out of its launch, Splatoon 3 sold over 1.8 million copies and even spiked Nintendo’s stock prices. On Twitch, Splatoon 3 saw similar success. The game has so far amassed over 8 million total hours watched, according to Streams Charts.

An international success, Splatoon 3 has even made its mark in countries where it has yet to officially release. Senior analyst at Niko Partners Daniel Ahmad reported the popularity of Nintendo’s newest title among Chinese streaming websites DouYu, Huya, and Bilibili.

In his graphic, Ahmad shows that 46 percent of all streamers on these platforms streamed Splatoon 3 during the last week. Potentially even more jarring, 72 percent of all donations to console game broadcasts were given to streamers who played Splatoon 3. The single most-viewed game across the given websites, Splatoon 3 also makes up 44 percent of all hours streamed over the past week.

Splatoon 3’s success in the Chinese market in spite of its unreleased status could be attributed to its increased accessibility for Chinese players. Unlike its two predecessors, Splatoon 3 is the first in the franchise to include simplified Chinese localization.

Though this is certainly not the first instance of a game popularizing in China before its official release in the country, Splatoon 3 has held an unmatched dominance in the market.