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Happy Wii Day, Europe!

by Karlie Yeung - December 8, 2006, 7:31 am PST
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It's time! Find out what happened at the Nintendo sponsored midnight launch in London early this morning.

I've been writing for what used to be PGC since before the GameCube was launched. That time around I saw all of the pre-release material but didn't actually make it to the launch. That made this Wii launch my first, so it was exciting to go to cover the event even though I won't be buying one yet, mainly due to time constraints in the coming year.

Media were called to check in at 10pm that night. At this time people waiting for the Wii had been there for at least twelve hours. The earliest in fact arrived Tuesday evening. Earlier in the day two hundred wristbands were given out to people waiting, same as the number of Wiis that were available to people who hadn't pre-ordered. Names and photos were also taken down, and these would be matched up on the night to ensure that no one could steal a place. Due to the launch chaos in the US, Nintendo organized as much as possible to ensure a safe and fun launch for everyone, and to ensure that the event wasn't shut down by security. Around one quarter of the people waiting were behind a barrier in front of the store, and the rest were waiting from a door at the side of the building, trailing around behind it.

I collected my press pass from Nintendo and went back around to the front of the store to wait for something to happen. It was planned that sporting celebrities would arrive at 11pm, then the store would open and everyone could go inside to watch them play Wii Sports on stage, and finally at midnight the first Wii would be sold. While waiting I saw that David Yarnton, General Manager of Nintendo UK, was there to see how the launch would go. Of course it wasn't to schedule, and the Wii bus finally arrived around half an hour later than planned. Off the bus stepped Ian Wright - former footballer, Nell McAndrew – former Lara Croft model, Ricky Hatton – boxer and Pat Cash – former tennis player.

This is where I first experienced the paparazzi. They are very angry people, and rather rude actually. No wonder they're disliked, they were shouting and screaming for the sports stars to look at their camera, yelling for the Nintendo's own camera crew to get out of the way. It's surprising that they actually had time to take any photos. I managed to find a spot fairly near to the front squished in among the photographers and snap a few blurry pictures, but they quickly moved the celebrities into the store and drove the bus away.

They kept everyone waiting outside while they set up and let their own photographers take some photos, then they let the press in through the side. I dashed up the blue and white lit pathway to the stage to get a good spot for when they started playing. I got a place right at the front and here they had Nell McAndrew and Pat Cash compete in Wii Sports Tennis, then Ian Wright and Ricky Hatton for several rounds of Wii Sports Boxing. The Miis were designed to resemble Nell McAndrew and Pat Cash.

The first person in the queue was then brought up to the stage and introduced. It was announced that the first Wii would go on sale in five minutes time so everyone wandered over to the checkout area.

After the first Wii was handed over, the rest of the consoles were quickly sold. Nintendo UK claimed this morning that they were sold out in almost sixty seconds.

That was the Wii launch. There were midnight sales at other stores around the country but due to the Nintendo support this one had the most publicity. Today, Wiis are continuing to be sold everywhere so let's hope that some more arrive soon! My photos from the event can be found in the European Wii Launch event.

Tomorrow is the Big Day in Europe

People are already in line for Wii launch in Europe. Based on the Japanese and North American launches, if you live in Europe, maybe you should be too.


- Wii launches tomorrow -

7th December 2006 – Excited shoppers are already forming queues outside shops across the country to ensure they are among the first to own Nintendo’s much-anticipated new console, Wii, when it launches tomorrow. As the undisputed must-have this Christmas, the demand for Wii has reached unprecedented levels, with both gamers and non-gamers alike desperate to get their hands on the critically acclaimed console.

To meet the exceptional customer demand, many stores across the UK will be opening their doors at midnight tonight. Nintendo UK has announced it will officially partner with HMV. The action kicks off from 11pm at HMV, 150 Oxford Street, London with the chance for everyone to come down and play launch game Wii Sports against top celebrities including Ian Wright, Nell McAndrew, Pat Cash and Ricky Hatton.

Wii is already shaping up to be the most hotly anticipated console launch ever seen in the UK with Amazon.co.uk recently revealing that pre-orders for Wii on its site ‘sold out’ within seven minutes of them being made available, making it the fastest-selling pre-order it has ever listed. In addition, retailers including Comet, Dixons and GAME have already announced that Wii is expected to be one of their top selling items this Christmas and demand is already expected to exceed supply.

Those getting there early enough in the queue will be lucky enough to get their hands on their very own Wii consoles, games and goodie bags just in time for Christmas. Stocks are limited so get there early to avoid disappointment.

With demand expected to exceed supply, Nintendo is doing everything possible to replenish stocks and ensure as many people as possible can purchase Wii for Christmas. To cope with the high demand Nintendo is shipping a staggering four million consoles by the end of 2006 and six million by March 2007 globally, with regular shipments arriving in stores through Christmas and into the New Year.

When released in America on 19th November Wii was an instant hit, selling-out almost everywhere within a matter of hours. In the first week since its launch over 600,000 consoles sold across the USA, roughly one per second. Wii launched in Japan on December 2nd and saw similar success with huge queues forming outside shops selling Wii all over the country. Around 400,000 Wii’s were shipped to retail in Japan for launch day and they were virtually all sold out on the morning of launch.

Gamers lucky enough to get a Wii for Christmas this year will be spoilt for choice with around 24 Wii games available before the end of the year, plus a further 36 Virtual Console games, which can be downloaded and stored on the console’s internal memory. When Wii launches across Europe it will come bundled with Wii Sports, a compilation of five games on one disc. Using Nintendo’s revolutionary motion sensitive controller, players can have the life-like experience of playing tennis, golf, baseball, bowling and boxing, all in the comfort of their own living room.

Among the huge selection of great games available at launch are The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Wii Play from Nintendo, as well as eagerly anticipated third-party offerings including Red Steel and Rayman Raving Rabbids from Ubisoft, Call of Duty 3 from Activision, Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz from SEGA and Need for Speed Carbon from EA.

The Wii console is available at the estimated retail price of around €249 (£179 in the UK). Included with every Wii console is one wireless Wii Remote, a Nunchuk, Wii Sports game, Stereo AV Cable and the sensor bar for Wii’s unique control system. Software is available at the estimated retail price of between 49 Euros and 59 Euros (£34 to £39 in the UK).

Additional controllers will retail at the estimated prices of: Wii Remote 39 Euros (£29 in UK), Nunchuk 19 Euros (£14 in UK) and the Classic Controller 19 Euros (£14 in UK).

Click onto www.Wii.com for all of the most up to date official information on Wii.

Wii Sells 50,000 on First Day in the UK

For the first twelve hours of launch, Wii keeps up one unit sold per second.


- One console sold every second since launch -

8th December 2006 – Within just 12 hours of going on sale, the much anticipated launch of the Nintendo Wii console has reached new heights of success with 50,000 units sold. The staggering figure translates to one unit sold throughout the UK every second, since the very first sale at the star-studded midnight store opening at HMV on London’s Oxford Street.

David Yarnton, General Manager, Nintendo UK says; “We are delighted with the amazing response to Wii and that people of all ages and gaming experience are embracing the way that we are turning the industry on its head. With so many units sold it is great to see that people will be enjoying Wii with their families this Christmas. We are doing everything we can do to meet demand throughout Christmas and the New Year period."

Record Wii and DS Sales in Europe

325,000 units in two days makes Wii the fastest selling home console in history and DS breaks its own records with 515,000 sold last week.


- Wii sells out across Europe with 325,000 units sold in two days –

13th December 2006 – Wii made its highly anticipated debut across Europe on Friday 8th December, with thousands of people desperate to get their hands on Nintendo’s new console. As the must-have product for the festive season Wii was an instant hit. Attracting vast crowds and selling out in stores all over Europe in just a matter of hours, a breathtaking 325,000 units were sold in the first two days making it the fastest selling home console in history.

Demand for Wii has been so great that shops all over Europe had large queues forming outside for up to three days before the launch and hundreds of shops opened their doors at midnight on launch day to allow gamers to get their hands on Wii. After just one weekend on sale, shops across Europe sold out of Wii consoles and daily shipments are now arriving across Europe to replenish stock.

The Legend of Zelda®: Twilight Princess, proved to be a favourite for avid gamers, with 240,000 copies snapped up over launch weekend in Europe, representing 74% of all hardware purchasers. Wii Play was also a big hit with over 50% of people buying the game (which includes a Wii Remote) along with their Wii console.

Laurent Fischer, Marketing Director for Nintendo Europe commented:

“Wii has become an overnight success in Europe with people of all ages rushing out to get their hands on the console. Even at this early stage it is clear that Wii is delivering on its promise to expand the gaming market, with a uniquely diverse audience all keen to experience the sensation for themselves.

For those who were unable to buy Wii during the launch weekend, rest assured more stock is already on its way and we are doing everything possible to ensure that a steady supply of Wii units is shipped to stores across Europe throughout December and into 2007."

Commenting on the launch Tim Ellis, Head of Games, HMV UK said: “"The demand for Wii has been truly amazing, and the official launch at our Oxford Street store was one of the biggest events we've ever staged there. HMV has received a huge amount of customer pre-orders - beyond anything we've ever seen before, including from family shoppers as well as dedicated Nintendo gamers. This suggests that while Wii is obviously one of the must-have items this Christmas, it also has the potential to appeal to a huge mainstream audience over the longer-term."

Wii mania in Europe follows the phenomenal success of Nintendo’s console in the Americas and Japan, where over a million units have been sold in just three weeks. In the Americas, where the console launched on the 19th of November, 600,000 consoles were sold in the first 8 days from launch. The Japanese launch saw similar success with around 400,000 units being shipped to stores for launch day and selling out during the first morning on sale. After just a few days of sales in Europe the Wii seems to be achieving similar success.

While Wii enjoyed a hugely successful launch Nintendo DS also had a record-breaking week, with 515,000 units sold across Europe last week, which is not only the highest weeks sales since the console’s launch but also the most any console across all formats has ever sold in a week! Nintendo’s handheld phenomenon has taken Europe by storm since its release in March 2005, with over 8.5 million consoles now sold across Europe.

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