Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nintendo hails 3DS midnight launch success

Nintendo UK hailed its midnight Nintendo 3DS launch a success this morning, as thousands of gamers across the UK finally got their hands on its brand new handheld console.

The platform holder held an official launch event at London's Old Billingsgate in the lead-up to launch, where BRIT award winner Plan B, rock band Hadouken and girl group Parade performed alongside live comedy from Russell Kane.

The evening then quickly focussed on launch events running along London's Oxford Street, where Steet Fighter producer, Yoshinori Ono was in good spirits, mingling with the crowd and challenging those in the 400-strong queue to a bout of Super Street Fighter IV 3D (he mostly won).

At the front of the official line was 22-year-old Marwan Elgamal - the same man who claimed the UK's first Wii - who told CVG he'd been queuing for the best part of a day for the prize of being the UK's first Nintendo 3DS customer.

"I've been queuing since 1am, so probably about 22 hours," he said. "I just love Nintendo so much and the 3DS is amazing so that's why I'm here - I really want one. I've been a Nintendo fan since I was born - my favourite series is the Legend of Zelda."

Hundreds of customers swarmed London's shopping capital at GAME, HMV, Currys and more for a chance to get their hands on the device, and it's unsurprising that Nintendo was quick to hail the UK launch a success.

"I tell you what, I'm not feeling very strong because I've been on my feet all day running around stores, being at the event, but it's all been fantastic," Nintendo UK GM, David Yarnton told CVG. "I don't feel the pain at all because there are so many people here excited to get the Nintendo 3DS. We're really happy with the response.

"I've been down to GAME and they had a lot of people queuing down there as well and we know all over the country almost a thousand stores are opening at midnight. We've had something like 140,000 pre-orders which is a record number. It just shows that people who have sampled and read about it are really looking forward to it."

He added: "Actually the really great thing about the event is I've actually picked up about 15 new Mii characters (laughs) so It's been great. Hopefully the public can now help me with the StreetPass Quest!"

UK marketing manager, James Honeywell added: "I agree, it's been fantastic. The fans have turned up, come out late at night and clearly this is something they're very passionate about. We feel really good about it, hopefully they feel really good about it, and hopefully they really enjoy the product."

Down the road from HMV, specialist retail giant GAME reported similar midnight launch success, with GAME Group marketing director Anna-Marie Mason encouraging those who missed out on the launch time madness to come down and pick up a system of their own.

"It's been a really good evening and there's been genuine excitement all day," she told CVG. "People have been queuing from really early on this evening and it's turned into a really good event.

You can see the mixture in the queue is what we expected; hardcore gamers plus mass appeal, so it's been a really good evening.

"We've been really, really impressed by how much people know about the device before they've even played it - they've really done their homework - and as soon as we let people through the doors to try demo units that's when the excitement started to build because it sounds really cheesy, but they genuinely didn't believe their eyes."

Mason told CVG she's confident stock will hold out and those that didn't make it out this morning should come down and sample "a turning point in gaming".

"I think genuinely, not being here at the start, if you're really into your games you really missed a bit of a turning point in gaming tonight," she said. "Get out this week and get one because what this machine is capabile of doing is truly brilliant for gaming."

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