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Nintendo Wii launches in Europe

Speaking at the London launch of the Wii last night, Nintendo UK boss David Yarnton told <i>GamesIndustry.biz</i> that there has been a record level of demand for the new console.

Speaking at the London launch of the Wii last night, Nintendo UK boss David Yarnton told GamesIndustry.biz that there has been a record level of demand for the new console.

"The demand has just been unprecedented," he said. "From the reaction we've had from the crowd and everyone else, it is going to be a huge success."

"I won't say it's taken us by surprise - we've been very confident about it, and obviously we've had launches in the US and Japan where sales have been phenomenal," Yarnton continued.

"We're well on track to ship four million consoles by the end of the year, and by the end of our financial year in March we'll be on track for six million."

Yarnton's comments came at the official UK launch of the Wii, which took place at HMV's flagship Oxford Street store. Earlier in the day wristbands had been given out and the queue broken up, but by 9pm the line had reformed and extended around the block.

According to HMV's head of games, Tim Ellis, demand for the new console will undoubtedly exceed supply - but that comes as no surprise to the retailer. "We knew six months ago that we weren't going to get enough stock, so you work with that," he told GI.biz.

"We've never got enough. We could have sold many times more than we've got, to be honest."

Ellis said that the store had 1200 calls about Wii on the day before launch, with roughly three-quarters of callers enquiring as to whether they could pick up a console despite having failed to pre-order one. "So we could have taken another thousand orders today. It's just bedlam, really," he added.

Yarnton said Nintendo had kept its promises with regard to hardware supplies and confirmed that more units are on the way, stating, "We've got stock coming through till Christmas and more stock in the new year. Everything we said we'd ship to retail we've shipped, they've got all the hardware we said we'd ship, and we've got more coming through."

Visit GamesIndustry.biz later today for a full rundown of the Wii launch event.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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