3DS launches across the UK

Consumers eager for new console despite high price and lack of classic Nintendo franchises

It may have a high price and lack classic Nintendo franchises at launch, but that didn't stop the crowds queuing for the 3DS last night, as the new handheld console went on sale across the UK.

Entertainment chain HMV was the official launch partner for Nintendo, with Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono on hand to help hype the crowd as the clock struck midnight.

Retailers are offering multiple deals and bundles to attract customers, with Nintendo last night claiming there were around 140,000 pre-orders in the UK. But with prices ranging from $179 to £230, it's still an expensive console even for the dedicated Nintendo fan.

I thought there would be at least a Zelda or some kind of Mario game at launch, but I'll just have to wait for them. It's not holding me back.

"It's kind of pricey. I was thinking maybe £50 less than the current price," said Hugo Fernandez, a lecturer at London Metropolitan who got in the queue at Oxford Street early to take advantage of HMVs free game promotion.

He was also a little disappointed by the lack of big-name Nintendo franchises on day one, although he was willing to shell out over £300 for the console and copies of Street Fighter IV, Ridge Racer and Pilot Wings.

"I can be patient, I can wait a couple of months for Zelda or maybe Mario Kart later this year," he said.

Further up in the queue was Taylor Pelling from Sutton, a gamer willing to pay for the latest gadgets. "It's not bad," he said of the price tag. "I paid £600 for my iPad," adding that he had is eye on copies of Street Fighter IV, LEGO Star Wars III and Pilot Wings.

"I thought there would be at least a Zelda or some kind of Mario game at launch, but I'll just have to wait for them. It's not holding me back, but Nintendo has lost out. I think they've done that so people buy something at the start and then they come back later for the classics," he said.

At the launch party at Old Billingsgate, Nintendo had invited competition winners to sample the 3DS alongside celebrities, guests and press.

Alex, a student from Derby was impressed with the system, but added that he couldn't afford to buy the console at launch but is willing to wait until the next Zelda remake is released.

"I haven't got the money to buy one tomorrow. I'll be tempted to buy it when Ocarina of Time comes out, basically. That would persuade me whatever the price."

"I'm not a great fan of the games being shown tonight," he said of the launch line-up. "I prefer Metroid, Zelda, Mario, classic Nintendo. But I am impressed by the quality of what I've seen."

Viewing the 3D effect of the system without wearing special glasses has been at the heart of Nintendo's marketing message, but getting the 3DS hands-on time with consumers is essential to show the differences between previous iterations of Nintendo handhelds.

"When I first got hold of the 3DS it was weird but as soon as I got used to the effect I knew where I was after ten minutes or so," said Alex, but he wasn't aware the 3D effect could be manipulated with a slider at the side of the system.

Working through his complimentary beer, Roy, a student from Leicester was also impressed with the console but admitted he was a little disorientated by the 3D.

"I love the effect buy it makes me feel a bit dizzy," he said.

HMV had opened over 100 stores at midnight for the launch, with rival GAME opening 482 stores across the country to meet demand.

The 3DS goes on sale today, priced between £170 and £230, with launch titles including Nintendogs + Cats, Pilot Wings, Super Monkey Ball and Ridge Racer.

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Latest comments (16)

Got mine with SSFIV and must say the technology is nice, headache material tho if played for a long time, at least for me.

Really innovative, Nintendo done it again :)
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Wesley Williams Quality Assurance 11 years ago
Tried it in HMV a few weeks back and while it was an impressive piece of technology, I really could care less about the 3D. Improved graphical quality, AR and a better online service are what would drive me to buy one, but not at the current price. Get closer to £100 Nintendo and I might consider it.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam11 years ago
Random customer at HMV - "It's kind of pricey. I was thinking maybe £50 less than the current price."

If you'd shopped around you could have got it for £50 less. *sighs*
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Show all comments (16)
Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 11 years ago
@John haha

Someone doesn't lurk online!
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Private Industry 11 years ago
I see now why they fear apps for 1 buck, they charge here 44.99 Euro for Nintendogs and all other 3DS games. Compared to that every new console release is 49.99 or often 44.99 at HMV. Charging for a 3DS game the same as for a game like Crysis 2 or any other big console game is just wrong in my opinion.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 25th March 2011 1:26pm

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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 11 years ago
Yes the games are very expensive. I'll be interested to see how long they stay that way, especially with potentially very cheap options for the NGP.

We don't want another N64 pricing situation.
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James Poole Managing Director, Sarcastic Hedgehog Ltd11 years ago
Wesley: "I really could care less about the 3D" You could care less, or you couldn't care less?
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Sam Maxted Journalist / Community / Support 11 years ago
There are launch games for the 3DS that I'd *play*, but none that I feel the need to buy it for. However, that may change when the Ocarina of Time port hits later in the year.
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Laura Greenfield Studying Biomedical Science, Middlesex University11 years ago
I was at the HMV launch. It was a great crowd, and I was very impressed with the celeb turn-up and freebies handed out. The free game with the first 500 people was the swaying point for me to go to HMV and not Game or Currys (Altho the first 150 at currys did get the consol for only £175 which was a great deal). I have a brilliant night, enjoyed the offers of interviews for just being there (Altho some jack ass came up to me and I heard him say to the camera man before he came to me "Token girl and then lets go", of which insulted me greatly).
Other people I was happy to tell that I have been a nintendo supported for my whole gaming life, that I was extremly happy with the 3D look, but a little disapointed with the lack of nintendo games on release. Even the wii pushed to get Zelda ready, so why this couldn't have been done for OoT to be released today aswell, I do not know. But I must say it is a brilliant game and I will wait a looooot longer to play it 3D.

All in all I am very happy with my 3DS. I got (the only thing really worth £40) Super Street Fighter IV. Very good and it is brilliant how the picture does come out! The mini games are good too, but nothing to spend hours on. If I had a complaint, it would be the battery life. I do not understand why is it so small in comparison to the DS Lite, of which I traded in to get the 3DS. I am considering buying a new DS Lite or DSi to be able to have enough life to last for long travel. Come on nintendo. Get with it :p
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Charlie McFadden Programmer 11 years ago
I picked up mine today with Ridge Racer for £140 (Though that was with a LOT of vouchers), so in regards to price, I wasn't so bothered. I do understand it is a very expensive piece of kit though.

That said, I won't be buying any more 3DS games in shops, seeing as you can get upwards of a £10 discount online, which brings the games back in-line with the Original DS, which is still a bit expensive, but worth it I feel.

So far, I'm impressed with the console. Disappointed (As many others are) with the lack of first party, but I don't mind waiting a few months for that.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Charlie McFadden on 25th March 2011 9:14pm

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Aurélien Dussalve11 years ago
Sadly, the only piece of hardware that will not improve before years will be the battery life, since technologically, it's a "research nightmare".
For now, all the manufactures sticks with the good old lithium batteries but it won't be long before hardware specs get saturated or else devices will have a ridiculous battery life (e.g: laptop)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Aurélien Dussalve on 26th March 2011 6:51am

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Gemma Suen Games Artist, Oysterworld Games11 years ago
Asides from the price tag, the 3DS is delightful! My housemates pre-ordered it for a good discount on a mysterious website. I'm feeling a bit regretful, perhaps it's just me but it was entertaining even without buying any games. Well done Nintendo, you're making the dream handheld (or at least the most worldwide acceptable type), I know for definite my parents would enjoy such a thing. As a lot of people have mentioned, I guess the battery life is a bit of a let down (unless you keep 3D off). I think what will make this a success is the social aspect of it.
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Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer Larian Studios 11 years ago
I'm waiting for the 3DS XL or Light or 2, got screwed over too many times on the first generation. But hey the thing is amazing for now.
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Adam Snowdon Studying Medicine, University of Dundee11 years ago
I queued for mine at my local GAME, no prizes on offer there though - apart from a raffle for 1 free 3DS. Really disappointed with the lack of first party AAA titles and the battery life, but overall happy with it. At least one of those things will improve in the coming months.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.11 years ago
The lack of Nintendo titles is because they wanted to give 3rd parties more opportunity to sell software instead of being overshadowed by Nintendo's own software as happened on the DS and Wii.

It's kind of a double edged sword because 3rd parties want Nintendo hold back on their own software while consumers don't.
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Private Industry 11 years ago
Battery life will be improved next year with the 3DS 2G or 3DS lite. ;)
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