German retail may be facing limited stock for the European launch of the 3DS later this month.
Sources have indicated to GamesIndustry.biz Germany that the territory is to receive units in the "maximum mid-five figure range." Larger branches of major retail chains are expected to receive around 100 consoles each.
By contrast, UK sources close to the matter have suggested that Nintendo may ship over 185,000 units here - which would be in excess of the original Sony PlayStation Portable's launch figures.
No numbers have been officially confirmed as yet, but a GAME spokeperson told GamesIndustry.biz that in the UK "There seems to be enough stock for launch - but if everybody who is excited about the product buys it, there probably will be stores (not just GAME or gamestation) that sell out."
In addition, "We're expecting queues for the launch of the 3DS, both for GAME and gamestation stories, when they open. The 3DS... has the potential for a huge following, and therefore a huge sell-through."
Germany, meanwhile, has seen little marketing for the handheld as yet, and retail sources claim to have had meagre data about stock expectations.
"Nintendo failed to give us any information about the initial shipment of 3DS," said a German buyer to GamesIndustry.biz Germany. "As usual with hardware launches, we are expecting less - rather than more - units on day one. We expect several phone conferences this week in which the initial shipment should be fixed."
Claimed another: "It is understandable that Nintendo is pretty quiet in marketing in order not to overheat expectations. They probably think that the initial shipment will be completely sold out to hardcore gamers who already know the product."
Meanwhile, Amazon.de has now limited 3DS orders to one per customer, although other retailers such as GameStop are yet to impose such limitations.
Thomas Adler, head of sales at major retail chain Media Markt Bayreuth did not expect a repeat of the long queues seen at the 3DS' Japanese launch, but "assume[d] that we have enough product."
"If we recall the launch of the DS, the sales began relatively slow," he continued. Then as now, he felt, "important titles are missing." Because of this, "the high fixed pricing and the competitive situation with the iPhone and iPad...I think this situation is very, very dangerous for Nintendo."
Nintendo's German office declined to give shipment numbers. What is confirmed is that the US and Europe will share 2.5 million consoles over March, with another 1.5 million going to Japan. Almost 400,000 of the latter have already been confirmed as sold.