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November 20, 2006

Nintendo Wii is launched, no riots

Posted by David Hunter at 11:01 AM ET.

On Sunday Nintendo launched its Wii videogame console to large but amiable crowds:

A large part of that was because everyone was confident that they’d be going home with Wii consoles in hand. So the Wii line was, as Everett had observed, notably calm. There was only one situation in which the line began to resemble a mob scene, and that’s whenever Nintendo representatives passed by to hand out swag: Wii T-shirts, beanies and baseball caps. For that, the crowd went wild.

Free stuff wasn’t the only way Nintendo kept fans entertained before the launch. There were also plenty of opportunities to actually try out the Wii, as a number of the consoles were attached to TVs that were strapped onto the fronts of Segway Human Transporters. Nintendo’s crew rode the “Segwiis” (as one blogger nicknamed them) around and stopped intermittently so that gamers in line could give the new system a test drive. And for passersby who weren’t in line, there was music cued up by DJs and performances by dance group AntiGravity.

As for glitches with the unit, they seem to be remarkably few except for the folks at Popular Science who broke theirs taking it apart, and the gamer who cracked his TV when he let go of the motion-sensing controller. That’s what the wrist strap is for, fellas!

With the launches of Sony’s PS3 and the Wii out of the way (although the Wii launches in Japan on Dec. 2), I expect that the next episode in the battle of the videogame consoles won’t play out until the 4th (calendar) quarter sales are reported. Even then, Sony and, to a lesser extent, Nintendo will be limited by product shortages so the focus will be on how well Microsoft’s Xbox 360 does in the the last quarter of their first mover advantage.

Filed under Coopetition, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Xbox

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