Quiet UK launch for DS Lite

Nintendo's redesigned handheld went on sale in the UK today, offering gamers a choice of colors--but will it Lite up the cash registers?

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The Nintendo DS Lite launched today in the UK to a rather muted response, with no major retailers holding midnight opening events. The console, which is available in both black and white in the UK, costs £99.99 ($179), although most retailers have been offering discounted bundles with games and accessories.

At GAME's flagship Oxford Street store in London, around 40 people lined up for the 8 a.m. opening, although most of them had already paid the £20 deposit to ensure they'd get hold of a console. Despite reports that Nintendo had suffered a theft of a shipment of DS Lites bound for the UK, GAME fulfilled all preorders, and even offered customers the chance to change colors if they so desired.

Those that did make the effort to visit the store early on were rewarded with various gifts that included posters and a Brain Training (known as Brain Age in the US) T-shirt, which, oddly enough, came in a bag that featured an image of the Game Boy Advance SP.

When GameSpot staffers spoke to customers that were buying a DS Lite, most said they had opted for bundles that offered the console and two games for £130, with almost an even split of those opting for the white and black colors. However, the most popular games of the day were Tetris DS and Metroid Prime: Hunters, both of which sold out within half an hour.

Other Oxford Street stores were making much less fuss over the launch. A tiny poster in the window of Currys Digital advertised the new console, while Virgin Megastore's window was too occupied with a big sale to devote any space to the DS Lite. Many customers who opted to buy online from GAME have reported consoles arriving a day early, while both Play.com and Amazon.co.uk had the console in stock as of press time.

We spoke to Mike Barnes, manager of GAME's Oxford Street store, to hear his take on the launch.

GameSpot UK: With the massive success of the DS Lite in Japan and the US, what were your expectations for the console in the UK?

Mike Barnes: We had great expectations for this particular console, especially considering that the previous console was so successful on launch and through its life span. We'll still be selling the previous version for the foreseeable future, but we expect that this will then dwindle off and that Nintendo will move over to producing just the DS Lite.

GSUK: How many people were at the front of the store when it opened this morning?

MB: Probably about 40 people, and the first 10 received an Atari Classics Game Boy Advance game. We have done midnight openings in the past, most recently with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation Portable, but the demographic of the DS is very much focused on kids, especially with games such as Nintendogs, Over the Hedge, and [Super] Princess Peach. We felt it was inappropriate for kids to come in and stand outside the store, especially in London. We made the decision to open early on the day of launch instead.

GSUK: Nintendo suffered a theft of thousands of DS Lite consoles bound for Europe, but the company promised this wouldn't disrupt the launch. Has GAME received its expected allocation?

MB: All preorders have been fulfilled and there is also free sales stock in selected stores. Anyone who comes into the Oxford Street store is likely to be able to buy a console off the shelf today, but in other stores there might not be quite so much free stock. Most of the people here today have paid a £20 deposit to order the console, which guarantees them a machine for 48 hours from the launch today. We've also got a really good incentive program, where you can trade in your old console and get the DS Lite for £59.99, which is £40 off the RRP.

GSUK: The console has been out since March in Japan. With the simultaneous worldwide release of the Xbox 360 and the PS3, do you think that this will be the last time the UK will see such a wait for a console?

MB: Absolutely, I think it will be the last time. The UK and European market has become much more important to the games industry, and going forward we expect simultaneous launches to become standard, and they certainly are for the consoles coming out later in the year.

GSUK: What sort of split has there been between the white and black DS Lite models, bearing in mind that the black version is exclusive to Europe?

MB: So far it's about 50/50. We received more models of the white unit than we did the black one, but actually in terms of preorders and people buying today, many people have changed their minds at the checkout today and it's worked out at about an even split.

GSUK: With the sleek redesign of the console and the "Touch Generations" line of games, Nintendo is quite clearly aiming for a mainstream market. Has this theory panned out at retail?

MB: It's too early to tell, but early indications are that this is how this is going to work. As I said, the DS is traditionally seen as a kids' console. At this time of year, it sells to kids who are going away on holiday and need something to play in the car, but as you can see in the store today, the majority of people in the queue look a little bit older. Therefore, with the new look and the games that are specifically designed for an older market like Brain Training, hopefully they will appeal to an older market.

Discussion

184 comments
natethedrummer
natethedrummer

howdy dudes, i got my ds lite in black a few days ago and it is just awesome ive never seen games jump out at me like this its the quivalent of getting an hd tv for ur ds, i played my bros old ds and i cant play it its so wierd the screen is so awful after playing the lite. With the release of this intendo r gona finally kick as in europe like most ppl im fed up with the goddamn psp loves bigging up there crappy same old console. Its so boring!!! the games sure r fun but lots of them r too good graphics for the psp rto handle and look real bad! Sony r finly losign sales which is what they have eserved for ages i dont see how the ps2 was any better than the cube?? and u got this gta guy arguing that uv got wirless chat yeah thattll be great" once u buy all the required euipment, rip off head set, camera and internet link then find some other idiot who has bought it all and then talk to them. oh yeah and how much is the software gonna be? hmmm maybe free oh no i forgot its sony so they rip u off if it were nintendo they give u free chat soft ware whoa whoa hang on! THEY ALL READY HAVE DUMBASS!! DS RULES PSP SUCKS! QUICK SEND ME A VIDEO COMMENT BEFORE UR BATTERY RUNS OUT

GrimBee
GrimBee

Im getting one next wiik! (LOL :P) I had a psp, i would like to get one again when they improve it, considerably. Everything is good for nintendo at the moment, good battery life, and now the fact that you can just admire the console aswell is an added bonus. PSP kind of sucks next to the DS LITE at the moment, all the psp's features are kind of watered down by its price, crappy expensive cards and awful awful battery, expensive umd formst and crappy movie umd prices, big screen constantly on display (cant just stick it in your pocket on the go). ds on the other hand has great battery and good game cartridge format, you can close it up on the go, and the games are really really fun!!! portable gaming as it should be!!

jaefrmbk2k
jaefrmbk2k

i feel just awful the way the British are taken advantage of every time they want to make an electronics purchase with the inexcusably prohibitive prices

Maquis_UK
Maquis_UK

buy a psp? yes show your individuality and forward thinking and play ps2 games on the go for one and a half hours battery life.. you are misinformed if you think METROID ever made a N64 appearance - you're making it up as you go!! and when you play Jak n Dax ( lol ) remember where the roots of that second-class franchise came from... its a poor MARIO 64 clone ( god, you could at least know what you're talking about )also get a new icon people... how many BORING GTA icons do i have to look at? chavs. sony are catching up? how is having HALF THE SALES OF DS 'catching up'?

youngbloodzz89
youngbloodzz89

THE DS SUCKS..... ANYTIME i see a person playing a ds , its is always a kid. the psp might not have sold that much , but thats because a lot of kids want one. DS games are more easyer than psp games, hence the reason why they want a ds. when i look at the ds i see the orginal nes, n64. Same type of games, mario and methroid. come on people its 2006 , arent yalla tired of going up a hole bunch of stuiped pipes. BUY THE PSP, IT HAS ONLINE, HEADSET COMMUNICATIONS,MUSIC, VIDEO, INTERNET,RSS,PHOTOS. THERE IS ALSO A GPS AND VIDEO CHAT COMING THIS FALL. most of you already have a ds and are going to go buy the ds lite.why??? THATs 300 ON THE SAME GOD DAM SYSTEM. you could get a psp and a game and a hole lot more features than the ds or ds lite combined. the psp might no be selling as much as the ds , but sony is catching up and when it does you better say bye bye nitendo.

thepeter
thepeter

time is always on the artists side

jaefrmbk2k
jaefrmbk2k

i want a black wii. oh wait, nevermind-i've already got one (observe how i use Nintendo's Wii in an original and alternative reference; such sublime humor is lost on many unsuspecting readers) your friend, I.M. FROM (the year 3000)

jeremygordontx
jeremygordontx

I want to bling up my DS. When will they offer solid gold?? I think, given the conversion rate for Euros ... the UK versions should be in solid gold!

lameer
lameer

Use a questionmark gamestop. Quiet UK Launch?. Gamestop is just biased against nintendo. Ohh, the lite launch sucks in the uk.

boyblob
boyblob

" DS is aimed for kids". Oh my god must defend!!11!!! Oh no it's not it's for everyone and I bet you play GTA and that makes you immature hahaha. I'm so mature playing my DS oh yeah.!! Anyway I don't care for such stupid arguments about how HARDWARE makes you mature or immature. All I know is that I got New Super Mario Bros. and I need to get me a Lite.

JonathanNash
JonathanNash

"What about the rest of Europe, how come when it comes to sales they only report the UK. " I think it has something to do with some Gamespot staff living in and around London. I can't afford one at the moment, I'm spending all my money on beer and watching the world cup, I'll probably get one during the Summer or something though, August probably. Black definately too. Oh yeah, and GAME staff members are generally idiots. They always have been, and unfortunately I suspect they always will.

redomegaz
redomegaz

I got one from gamestation with 2 games a starter kit for

ketan2306
ketan2306

I ordered min from play.com and got it a day early which was nice. Only got a couple of games Sonic, Brein Training and Nintendogs. Can't wait for the New Mario to come out, that should be good.

nsoufiani
nsoufiani

I constantly posted in the forums saying that the UK is very biased and casuals always label nintendo as "kiddy". this just further proves my point. Trust me, the staff probably know "NOTHING" about games. Even the manager. Theyv been employed to keep the business up and running, not to know about games so I think its stupid to ask a GAME manager them sort of questions.

miffyelmo
miffyelmo

Thanks for the interesting article; seems like it's been selling well despite not selling out across the country.

CaitSiths4c
CaitSiths4c

That dud obviously hasen't done his research. Yes the ds's games tend to look like they only want to appeal to children, but remember, it's not about the looks, it's about the gameplay. NEVER FORGET THAT Sales will pick up over time. The Uk's not THAT dull.

mr_gouda
mr_gouda

I wants a black DS Lite too!!!!

rbarahona
rbarahona

It will be a matter of time before the gamers in the UK and Europe start buying the Nintendo DS as if there would be no tomorrow. Right now, they all have their attention in the FIFA World Cup.

rynmls
rynmls

does south east asia has ds lite already?

aramitz
aramitz

The DS /is/ a little kids console in the UK. Calls that the guy in the interview doesn't know what he's talking about is completely misguided. Adults in Europe aren't as quick on the technological uptake as those overseas not to mention the drinking culture here means not many people are interested in a handheld game machine in the first place other than as a gadget to show off to friends (which usually ends up being a PSP right or wrong). With most stores only stocking titles like Tamagotchi Corner Shop & Pokemon Dash for the DS that's where the conception arises. I did find it amusing that it was noted Virgin was too busy advertising it's sale to even notice about a new console launch, and they wonder why they're constantly making a loss year in year out. Begs belief really.

g-master999
g-master999

Good for the UK. Now give us some black Lites, dammit!

thehuntershade
thehuntershade

I live in uk we are an small country, that is way BETTER than you in soccer aka football. So stop whining. We are better than you!

Dan0r
Dan0r

Sold my DS a few weeks ago, got a black Lite at launch, its sexy, lighter and brighter!

elPistolerro
elPistolerro

The Game I got mine in (IRE) had a good few, and I went in around 12 in the morning.

TheVGDude
TheVGDude

If everyone in the UK thinks like me then they already have a DS and won't waste their money on the same thing!

samuelroberts
samuelroberts

Can''t wait to get my DS lite next week. Got Phoenix Wright, Animal Crossing and Kingdom Hearts on GBA for it(never owned a GBA). Its going to be ace, I hope.

0li
0li

Des_Eagle "Ha, he actually has the balls to say it's targeted for kids. It's about time Wiitards and DS fans got a dose of reality...Exactly why the Will will fail...only kids and people who can't get over Nintendo's past failures will purchase it. I predict that the Wii will be just like this in Europe." So kids will be buying Red steel, Metroid prime 3, Disaster: day of crisis and Project H.a.m.m.e.r then? Hell, i'd get a 360 if i could afford it. But i can't. I can only afford a Wii. And that is the reason that many will go for Nintendo's new console. And before you go on about the DS lite having a slow launch, don't forget that we, the british public, have had no AAA titles for a while now. I'm taking a huge guess here, but if you aren't a fanboy, then quit being cynical. It isn't good for your health.

Rick-RJ
Rick-RJ

I think DS Lite will do great in the UK.

kirbymariopika
kirbymariopika

MAINLY KIDS!!! This guy is a loser. "Nintendogs, Over the Hedge and Super Princess Peach." Nintendogs is not a kids game Yes, it's Kid's friendly, it's possibly even more targeted towards female young adults. Over the Hedge is a MOVIE BASED GAME and CAN NOT be compared with a real game. Super Princess Peach is to draw in female gamers of all ages. THIS GUY IS A LOSER!

AdolescentDon
AdolescentDon

I'm pretty sure things will pick up pretty soon, i'm going out to get one tomorro.

DrMario57
DrMario57

Think about it, why the hell is it

Big_S211
Big_S211

This is exactly why Nintendo has a bad image, people like him saying its for kids. Kids who (apparently) enjoy testing their brains and shooting things. Idiot. DS is aimed at everyone, kids, teenagers and adults. As soon as GAME realise this, they'll get better sales, and Nintendo will not be seen as a pathetic company. I just cannot accept people are being given advice on games from people like him...

TheGreenGecko
TheGreenGecko

japanesegoth: "'but the demographic of the DS is very much focused on kids' that just proves that this guy doesn't know what he's talking about." A demographic is just a demographic. It doesn't mean that Nintendo are aiming at kids specifically, it's just that's the way it's panned out. All consoles sell mostly to kids, anyway.

nutzelfutz
nutzelfutz

Really interesting, this hype or rather no-hype in the U.K. It seems like it's a good thing to wait out all night in front of a store just to get a new gaming-related item...only thing I got first day out was my Cube, and seemingly I didn't gain anything with it, bragging rights set aside. Thing is, Europeans are kind of used to waiting since anything released in Japan or the U.S. takes its time until it gets released over here, IF it gets released, which isn't sure even if it's great stuff (Xenosaga, anyone?) This used to bother me, but it's got a good side to it, actually. It usually means the EU version of any hardware or game is the least problematic one as there was plenty of time to get rid of bugs and hardware issues before launch. Big thanks to the US and Japanese gamers for testing all that stuff!

paper_boy
paper_boy

I got mine on Friday. I got to Gamestation just before it opened so I could get the black DS Lite before they ran out. Though it being a Friday I didn't really see the point of getting there too early since all the kids would be in school. I got my black DS and it's really cool. So much lighter, brighter and smaller than my old DS. I also had a choice of free game too, which I think is pretty sweet. I got Sonic Rush.

nairod54
nairod54

It just pisses me off when people say that the DS focuses on the younger demographic. This is just bull, and the entire idea of the DS was to appeal to the non-gamer demographic. Nintendo goes for all demographics, not teenagers, older or younger. P.S., The white one is the sexiest, hand down.

GrimBee
GrimBee

Im just amazed really. Completely flabber ghasted actually (and i dont even know how to spell flabber ghasted!!) I remember when everyone, and i mean EVERYONE was waiting for the psp, and saying how awesome it is and how crap nintendo are with their kiddy games and the crappy "touch screen". and well, just look at it now! kiddie games indeed.. I know a HECK of alot of people who have traded in a psp for a ds lite, but actually, physically selling it on ebay to get a ds lite!! Because the trade in price for a psp is so abysmal! Fact is, with the ds, you have such a variety of games to play on it, and everything about it just oozes pick up and play. And now it's got a sexy styling, people can carry it round like an ipod and it will be awesome. Now all you need to do is attach white ipod earphones and you will be THE ULTIMATE FASHION ACCESSORY!! Nintendo DS will do exeedingly well in the uk now, because most people in the uk dont wanna carry round psp for all to see! And ipod, you can fit in ur pocket, but carrying round a beefy screen is a bit of a no go. With the ds lite, its smaller and sleeker and can fit in ur pocket without a need for a pouch! Not only that, because now you have TWO ds' to by from stores (fat and lite) you have two different budgets to accomodate. The fat ds for a poor kid who wants a ds, and a ds lite for the more slender, fashionable teen ;) Nintendo officially rock now, and i honestly believe that coupled with the increasing popularity of the nes all of a sudden, nintendo are going to win out this coming three years or so. GO NINTENDO!

bobreturns
bobreturns

this was only on shop so it isnt very accurate

Unholy616
Unholy616

Black DS lites seem to all have dead pixel issues.

Spiritcycle
Spiritcycle

Agreed...im sure the Wii will be exactly the same...really take off in America and Japan...but the UK dislikes both Europe and America and has this obsession with sony being 'cool'. Sigh...too many people are parts of social groups based on 'coolness' :) (by the way I love both Europeans and Americans...you guys are awesome :D)

LinkKane
LinkKane

I love my country and I love Nintendo. It just annoys me that we in the uk are so controlled by what's cool. Playstation is the cool (though for me inferior) system so it sells well. Nintendo isn't cool, so suffers. I drives me crazy (and not in the good way).

Spiritcycle
Spiritcycle

lol what about the slim version of the PS2 ^^...im sure DS lite sales will pick up as games are released. The PSP sadly is a mis-used product. It's used to mainly stick ports on and does lots of weaker leveled media functions. The PSP in its self is a great idea but fails to reach expectations. Comon Sony show the PSP some love! lol...and im afriad alot of us UK ppl like sport series games and GTA (thanku chavs ^^) so sony probally pull off better here with handheld war

PelekotansDream
PelekotansDream

The good thing is that I can rest easy knowing I can buy one, they have not sold out.

amurphy245
amurphy245

disgrace,event mike barns or whatever his name is,said that ds lite is for kids,just as i said before no1 gives nintendo a chance in the uk,sad

allsaintman
allsaintman

I won't be getting one, purely because I object to handheld gaming as a whole. Just my opinion, but I would rather poke my eyes with a spoon than to play any decent game on a screen that is any smaller than 14". And don't even get me started on watching movies on that kinda sized screen. Oh, and I've never bin into Nintendo either. Apart from Mario. Rock on small Italian plumbers!

deepdreamer256
deepdreamer256

Why do I have to live with pessimistic country-folk >_>

beedouk
beedouk

Some of my friends pre-ordered a DS lite even though they have the original DS dont see why but i suppose the new design is sexy