8th December 2006 - Following months of eager anticipation, the official midnight launch of Wii - Nintendo's new home console - saw fans and gaming newcomers turn out in force to claim their slice of the future of home entertainment!
Also in attendance, to kick off proceedings, were a host of sporting stars Ian Wright, Nell McAndrew, Ricky Hatton and Pat Cash. The celebs put on a show for the fans, many of whom had braved the cold by queuing a staggering 55 hours in advance! Despite the chill, the crowds were delighted to witness the sporting prowess of the celebrities as they went head to head in tennis and boxing matches on Wii Sports.
Marwan Elgamal, 17, the first customer in the queue who pitched up his tent on Tuesday night, commented: "I have been looking forward to this day for months! Despite the cold and rain, it was well worth it - not only was I the very first person in the UK to own the Wii, but I also got to thrash Ian Wright in a game of Wii Sports!"
The past few weeks have seen growing hysteria surrounding the launch of Wii both in the UK and across the globe - but not only with traditional gaming fans. Unconventionally for a games console, much of the interest in Wii has been with older audiences and those that have never played a games console before. With the console's revolutionary controller, never before has it been so easy to control and feel a part of the game.
David Yarnton, General Manager, Nintendo UK; "This is such an exciting time for Nintendo - since the launch of the Nintendo DS we have been committed to exploring a new approach and offering a more inclusive experience. The launch of Wii sees our commitment to innovation and bringing in new audiences taken one stage further, and we are overwhelmed with the incredible response we've received from the public - both young, old, male and female."
Today's launch follows a succession of unforgettable moments throughout the global launch period over the past three weeks. Back on 19th November at the US launch, the Wii was an instant hit - selling out in just hours. In the first weeks since its launch over 600,000 consoles have been sold.
Following hot on the heels of the US launch came Japan's launch on 2nd December - where the full quota of 400,000 units were sold-out on launch morning. Not to mention, in anticipation of the UK lunch, Amazon.co.uk reported a seven minute sell out on pre-orders - the fastest selling pre-order it has ever listed.
The Wii console is available at the estimated retail price of around £179. 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 £34 to £39.
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 third-party offerings including Red Steel and Rayman Raving Rabbits from Ubisoft, Call of Duty 3 from Activision, Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz from SEGA and Need for Speed Carbon from EA.
Click onto www.Wii.com <http://www.Wii.com> for all of the most up to date official information on Wii.
For further information please contact the Nintendo Press Office on:
020 7307 3103
Stephanie - 07791 717 790 / Kate - 07791 717 768 / Ben - 07791 717 791
Sian - 07791 717 732 / Bianca - 07791 717 734
Note to Editors:
Launch night photography available:
Celebrities playing Wii
Various other celebrity shots
Members of the public queuing
Wii being sold to first customer by Ian Wright
Photography and footage regarding the launch of Wii is available at www.thenewsmarket.com/nintendo-europe <http://www.thenewsmarket.com/nintendo-europe> . Media can preview and request broadcast-standard video digitally or by tape at no cost from this site.
If you are not already familiar with Wii, here's what you need to know:
What's Wii ?
Wii is Nintendo's new console which, with its sleek design and size of three DVD cases, fits perfectly into anyone's living room.
The Wii Remote is a one handed controller, similar in look to a TV remote control, which players use to control their games with life-like movements, providing a more interactive and realistic experience than ever before
A secondary Nunchuk controller can be attached to the Wii Remote for games that require the use of both hands, infinitely expanding Wii's possibilities
Wii Sports comes with every Wii and includes boxing, tennis, baseball, bowling and golf. This groundbreaking collection of games is designed so that anyone can play by simply recreating the physical movements of the actual sport.
Wii will launch with around 24 games in December including: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo), Wii Play (Nintendo), Red SteelTM (Ubisoft), Call of Duty® 3 (Activision), Super Monkey BallTM: Banana Blitz (Sega) and Need For SpeedTM Carbon (EA).
Channel Surf With Wii
As well as its unique gameplay, the Wii console includes a series of on-screen "channels" that add additional functionality to the Wii. The channels offer a gateway to a rich variety of entertainment options.
When connected to a TV, the Wii Channel Menu offers a simple interface letting users pick games to play, receive news and weather updates, view, edit and send photos and send messages to other Wii consoles, computers and mobile phones using the console's message board function. Users can surf the net from the comfort of their couch with the Internet Channel or create caricatures of themselves to use in the actual games through the fun Mii Channel.
Channels available from launch are Disk Channel, Wii Shop Channel, Mii Channel and Photo Channel.
The Internet Channel, powered by Opera Browser, will be available in December.
The Forecast Channel, provided by Weathernews, will become available on 20th December from when you can check out weather information for anywhere in the world. On 27th January 2007 the News Channel will provide instant access to breaking news from around the world provided by Associated Press.
Retro gaming at your fingertips
The Virtual Console service allows Wii owners to download and play classic Nintendo games on their Wii.
There are 36 Virtual Console titles available in 2006, with more added to the range on a regular basis**
Games for the Virtual Console will be downloaded using Wii Points which can be purchased online or in retail stores for around 20 for 2000 Wii Points.
In addition, Wii is backwards compatible with Nintendo GameCube games .
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).
*Wii games available from 8th December 2006
Wii Sports - includes Tennis, Golf, Boxing, Baseball and Bowling (Included with each Wii console) (Nintendo).
The Legend of Zelda : Twilight Princess (Nintendo)
Wii Play (including Wii Remote) (Nintendo)
Call of Duty® 3 (Activision)
Tony Hawk's Downhill JamTM(Activision)
Madden NFL 07 (EA)
Need For SpeedTM Carbon (EA)
Happy FeetTM (Midway Games)
Super Monkey BallTM: Banana Blitz (Sega)
Disney/ Pixar's Cars (THQ)
Spongebob Squarepants: Creature from the Krusty Krab (THQ)
GT Pro Series (Ubisoft)
Monster 4x4 World Circuit (Ubisoft)
Rayman Raving RabbidsTM (Ubisoft)
Red SteelTM (Ubisoft)
Wii titles available by end December 2006
MarvelTM: Ultimate AllianceTM (Activision)
Gottlieb Pinball Classics (System 3)
Super Fruit Fall (System 3)
Avatar: The Legend of Aang (THQ)
Far Cry Vengeance (Ubisoft)
Open SeasonTM (Ubisoft)
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent (Ubisoft)
Ice Age 2 (Vivendi)
**Virtual Console games available from 8th December 2006:
Super Mario TM 64 (Nintendo 64)
F-Zero TM, Donkey Kong Country TM (Super Nintendo)
Mario Bros. TM, The Legend of ZeldaTM, Donkey KongTM and Wario's WoodsTM (NES)
Sonic the HedgehogTM, Altered BeastTM, Golden AxeTM and Ecco the DolphinTM (SEGA MEGA DRIVE)
Bonk's AdventureTM, Super Star Soldier®, Victory RunTM, Bomberman®'93 and Dungeon ExplorerTM (Turbografx (PC Engine))
Virtual Console games available from 15th December 2006:
Urban Champion TM, Solomon's Key TM and Pinball (NES)
Columns TM, Gunstar Heroes TM, Ristar TM, Dr. Robotonik's Mean Bean Machine TM (SEGA MEGA DRIVE)
Alien Crush TM (Turbografx (PC Engine))
Virtual Console games available from 22nd December 2006:
Donkey Kong Jr. TM, Soccer and Tennis (NES)
Space Harrier II TM and Toe Jam & Earl TM (SEGA MEGA DRIVE)
Military Madness TM (Turbografx (PC Engine))
Virtual Console games available from 29th December 2006:
SimCity TM, Super Probotector TM and Super Castlevania IV TM (Super Nintendo)
Baseball and Ice Hockey (NES)
R-TYPE® (Turbografx (PC Engine)
Nintendo's new system, Wii, will feature a controller designed to be used with either one hand or two -- a first in the video game industry. When picked up and pointed at the screen, the controller gives a lightning-quick element of interaction, sensing motion, depth, positioning and targeting dictated by movement of the controller itself.
Nintendo Co., Ltd. of Kyoto, Japan, is the acknowledged worldwide leader in the creation of interactive entertainment. To date, Nintendo has sold more than 2.2 billion video games worldwide and more than 387 million hardware units globally, creating such industry icons as Mario® and Donkey Kong and launched franchises like The Legend of Zelda® and Pokémon. Nintendo manufactures and markets hardware and software for its popular video game systems, including home console units such as the Nintendo 64, NINTENDO GAMECUBE, and the forthcoming revolutionary new console Wii, as well as portable handheld gaming systems such as, Nintendo DS. Game Boy Advance, and Game Boy - the world's best-selling video game system which has sold over 193 million units. As a wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of Europe, based in Grossostheim, Germany, was established in 1990 and serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in Europe.