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High demand reported for 3DS at Japanese launch

Long queues for 400,000 launch day units; 1.1m more systems expected

Nintendo's next handheld, the 3DS, is now on sale in Japan following its weekend launch.

With just 400,000 units available on the system's first day of release (according to the Nikkei) and queues reportedly stretching to 750 people long, the first shipment of consoles sold out quickly. Many of the units were already tied up in pre-orders.

However, a second shipment became available on Sunday, with AndriaSang observing that the queuing situation had by that point apparently resolved itself.

Including the 400,000 already known about, a total of 1.5 million units are expected in Japan by the month's end - with Nintendo predicting 4 million shipments worldwide within the same period.

However, some analysts are concerned Nintendo's new system will not have the staying power of its predecessor - the DS - which has sold in excess of 145 million units to date.

"Because of smartphones they will not see the same growth they once had," Macquarie Securities' David Gibson told Reuters.

Added SMBC Friend Research's Shun Tanaka, "Of course it will be difficult to sell more than the DS in Japan or other developed countries." However, greater sales in emerging territories such as Asia and South America were possible, he felt.

Nintendo's shares have risen by around 20 per cent in anticipation of the launch. The 3DS arrives in Europe on March 25 and the US on March 27.

For more on the Japanese launch of the Nintendo 3DS and consumers' initial reactions to the new system, please see GamesIndustry.biz's coverage here.

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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