iQue

From RGDWiki
iQue logo.

iQue is a Chinese company founded as a joint venture between Nintendo and Wei Yen, an entrepreneur who worked on several projects involving Nintendo. It was originally formed to sell the iQue Player, and later expanded to selling rebranded versions of Nintendo's handheld systems in China ranging from the Game Boy Advance to the 3DS XL. iQue planned to sell a rebranded version of the Wii in China, but was unable to do so due to China's legal restrictions involving video game consoles. iQue stopped releasing or supporting games & consoles shortly after the release of the iQue 3DS XL, changing their purpose to serve only as a localization company to localize Nintendo games to Simplified Chinese.

iQue hardware releases

Due to a ban on home video game consoles in China from 2000 to 2015, the majority of iQue's hardware releases were rebranded versions of Nintendo's handheld consoles, with their only home console release being designed to circumvent the terms of the ban.

The hardware that iQue released was as follows:

  • iQue Player (only home console released by iQue; unique device built from the ground up to replicate Nintendo 64 hardware and play modified Nintendo 64 games)
  • iQue Game Boy Advance
  • iQue Game Boy Advance SP
  • iQue Game Boy Micro
  • iQue DS
  • iQue DS Lite
  • iQue DSi
  • iQue 3DS XL (no non-XL 3DS variant was offered)

Aside from the iQue Player, all of these devices were rebranded versions of the equivalent devices released by Nintendo in other regions, although as Nintendo begun to introduce more complex software environments that distinguished systems by region, iQue systems also gained unique software environments which introduced copy protection and region locking for iQue games. While Nintendo did not implement region locking in their devices until the DSi, iQue systems and games implemented region locking starting with the iQue DS which prevented iQue games from being played on systems of other regions.

iQue originally planned to release a variant of the Wii system in China, with software features being implemented in the Wii system to define a Chinese system region, but these plans were scrapped possibly due to difficulties in rebranding an existing foreign home console while the home console ban was still in effect. The Wii was released in Taiwan and Hong Kong as the Japanese-region system with special Traditional Chinese-localized games, and many years later various Wii games were released on the Nvidia Shield localized into Simplified Chinese; however, iQue seemingly was not involved in the latter localization effort.

iQue software releases

iQue released very few games for each of their consoles, which was a possible contributing factor to their commercial failure. 14 games were released for the iQue Player, 8 for the iQue GBA, 6 for the iQue DS, and only 2 for the iQue 3DS XL. In addition, they released 31 digital DSiWare games for the iQue DSi. Notably, some iQue GBA games were cancelled before release but resurfaced years later, when they were sold in a complete packaged form on the Chinese online marketplace Taobao. [1]

iQue 3DS XL

The iQue 3DS XL had a lot of features missing which were present in the international release, such as Miiverse, the Nintendo eShop, Nintendo Zone, System Transferring, and Data Management. No physical games were ever created for the system, with the only games available to iQue 3DS XL owners being the built-in titles Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land. However, games intended for 3DS systems released in Taiwan/Hong Kong supporting the Chinese language are compatible with the system.

BroadOn

Wei Yen, who initially served as part of the joint venture with Nintendo which created iQue, founded a software engineering firm in 2000 known as RouteFree, later renamed to BroadOn. BroadOn served as a mostly-unknown third entity in the development of the iQue Player, developing its entire software infrastructure which was released under the iQue brand through the joint venture with Nintendo. As such, BroadOn in some ways served as the overseas representation of iQue's development efforts.