The hype surrounding the long-awaited new Nintendo console is reaching fever pitch as hundreds of games fans start queuing in London ahead of tonight’s midnight launch.
Nintendo wants the Wii to be the UK’s biggest ever console launch and all pre-orders are reported to have sold out.
Fans started queuing on Tuesday night outside HMV on London’s Oxford Street – the official launch venue.
The Wii – pronounced ‘we’ – costs £179 and has a wireless, wand-like remote control that interacts with whatever game is being played.
The remote control responds to body movements so people playing a tennis game, for example, will be able to mimic swinging a racquet.
The Wii will arrive with five different sports games on one disk which Nintendo says you’ll be able to play using simple physical movements. You can also play games with a ‘traditional’ controller.
Rob Lowe, UK Product Manager for Wii, said the majority of consoles had already been reserved but retailers have set aside a small number to sell in-store.
‘There is a good chance it will sell out on Friday. Judging by the feedback we have had from the retailers I would say you would be lucky to get one on Saturday.
‘We are hopeful it will be the biggest console launch the UK has ever seen. The previous one was the Xbox 360 and we have got enough stock to be able to beat that.’
Nintendo is shipping four million of the consoles globally but wouldn’t say how many were destined for the UK. It will send further stocks to the UK next week, with more to come before Christmas.
Amazon.co.uk recently revealed 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.
Nintendo says that other retailers including Comet, Dixons and GAME have already said Wii is expected to be one of their top selling items this Christmas and demand is already expected to exceed supply.
The Wii is much cheaper than rival consoles and has also benefited from the delayed UK launch of Sony’s PlayStation3 console.
Production problems have forced the electronics giant to push back the PS3’s European launch until next March.
Which? researcher Kate Shipp said: ‘If first impressions are anything to go by then the new Wii console from Nintendo looks set to add a new dimension to the world of gaming.
‘The wireless Wii remote is intuitive and easy to use, and with a variety of new games available in stores, and retro games downloadable direct to the console, there will be plenty to keep the whole family entertained.
‘This console definitely puts the fun back into gaming and we’re sure it will top many a Christmas list this year.’