Nintendo Switch language update includes 'Taiwanese'

Nintendo Switch update sure to break Chinese glass hearts with 'Taiwanese' language option

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Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo Switch. (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Among the new icons and languages rolled out in the new update for the Nintendo Switch, the hybrid console now includes "Taiwanese," according an announcement by Nintendo.

In its announcement of Version 7.0 of the Nintendo Switch gaming console on Monday (Jan. 28), the Japanese gaming company on its official English-language website listed the following three new languages: Chinese, Korean, and "Taiwanese." Many netizens found the listing of "Taiwanese" humorous as it demonstrated a lack of understanding of the difference between the Chinese characters used in China and Taiwan.

Taiwanese dialect or Taiwanese Hokkien (臺灣閩南語) is more of a spoken dialect rather than a written language. What the gaming company meant to say was traditional Chinese characters, which are the official writing system in Taiwan, as opposed to the simplified script used in China.

Even Newsweek listed the new language as "Taiwanese" in the Gaming section of its website on Jan. 29.

Some Chinese netizens interpreted the wording used by the Japanese gaming giant as supporting Taiwanese independence and called for a boycott of its products, while others were perplexed by the mixed message:

"Nintendo USA what do you mean by this? Traditional Chinese written as Taiwanese?"

On the other side of the strait, Taiwanese netizens mocked their Chinese counterparts:

"Can they play with Nintendo consoles in China?"

"China has to boycott a lot of things."

"Aren't you against Japan, why play Nintendo games?"


Screen capture of update on Nintendo website from Jan. 28

As of Wednesday (Jan. 30), Nintendo had corrected the language options to read "Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), and Korean."