Retail readies for DSi launch
Near sell-out of new Nintendo handheld expected on Friday following "phenomenal" demand
Ahead of the DSi launch this Friday, retailers across the UK have advised consumers to pre-order the handheld as free stock supply begins to run dry.
Consumer demand for the latest iteration to Nintendo's handheld, priced GBP 149, is already threatened to outstrip retailers' supply across the UK, and could leave some early adopters disappointed.
"The supply is tight, there's just not a great amount of stock out there," Don McCabe, managing director of UK retailer Chips, told GamesIndustry.biz.
"Basically everything that we're getting in is already pre-sold before it hits the shop floor. It's a 100 per cent sell out for us," he explained, adding: "Our concern is when the next batch is in and we haven't had an announcement on that yet."
"We're letting customers know that the sooner they put a deposit down the further up the queue they are and when the next batch comes in, if they're the first in the queue then they'll be the first to get one.
McCabe said the pre-orders had been from early adopters and that Nintendo still had some work to do to convince the average consumer that the DSi was a worthwhile upgrade.
"I think a few people are asking why they should upgrade," he commented. "The initial batch will be taken up by the first adopters but I get the feeling a lot of people don't really know what they're going to do with it yet."
He added: "I think Nintendo have a little bit of job to do on the machine to make it a long-term success for them. I'm sure they will do it."
Entertainment retailer HMV also encouraged consumers to place pre-orders ahead of Friday's launch sales, amid escalating demand.
"Pre-orders have been strong on DSi from day one, and with both ourselves and Nintendo ramping up press and PR activity this week, we expect to see them increase even more going into Friday," Toby Burton, HMV's senior games buyer, explained to GamesIndustry.biz.
"At HMV we've put a lot of time and effort into raising consumer awareness of the product, and encouraging customers to place a pre-order in-store, backed by our strong free memory card and re-play deals. We've had a great response from our customers, and with this in mind we feel pre-orders have lived up to our high expectations.
"Obviously we still have a few days to go until launch, so we're expecting some further pre-orders, but we do envisage that we will have some unreserved stock for day one, which I think will go down well at street-level.
"However, we are encouraging our customers to place a pre-order with us to avoid disappointment, as we cannot guarantee that we will have free stock available in all of our stores. We always do our best to satisfy customer demand, but this very much depends on the availability of DSi hardware from Nintendo."
ShopTo's Igor Cipolletta echoed previous comments by saying that pre-orders had been "going very well", but doesn't see supply falling short of demand.
"We've had a good allocation from Nintendo and will be able to have loose units for day one release," he explained.
"I believe that this time Nintendo has managed to predict the sell out units and manufacture the right quantity for the day one allocation, but officially they are already on allocation and we should know better the week after release if their predictions were correct."
Play.com described "phenomenal" levels of pre-orders, of over 250 per cent more than the DS Lite's during the same pre-launch period.
"We've worked very closely with Nintendo to ensure every pre-order we take will be fulfilled and we're confident enough to guarantee delivery of every DSi order and as always we'll do everything we can to remain in stock so every customer has the opportunity to purchase this fantastic console," commented a spokesperson.
Nintendo has said it has no plans for any midnight store openings for the launch of the handheld this Friday, citing that the "DSi is an evolution of the DS family and both platforms will sit alongside each other."