UK launch: Wii draws the crowds

The Wii has landed in Britain--London events see celebrities battle on Wii Sports; Nintendo UK hails the "biggest launch we've ever had."

The Wii went on sale in the UK at the stroke of midnight on Friday, drawing huge crowds on London's premiere shopping street in two massive lines.

At Nintendo's official event in HMV on Oxford Street, celebrities Ian Wright, Nell McAndrew, Pat Cash, and Ricky Hatton turned up to play Wii Sports. Cash and McAndrew played Wii Tennis, with Cash winning two games to zero. Wright and Hatton sparred at Wii Boxing, with the ex-footballer winning the virtual game against the boxer.

Marwan Elgamal, who had been camping outside the store in an alley for two days, was first in line for a console at the HMV store, and it was presented to him by Ian Wright. Elgamal bought The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess with his purchase, and Wright asked him if Zelda was a fighting game--which didn't go down well with the crowd.

A few shops down the street at Game, Vic Ainsworth was first in line and held his Wii box above his head in victory as photographers snapped his photo. He admitted that he'd never had so many pictures taken of himself. He laughed, "I always look grumpy in photos, but I'm not! I'm really excited!" He revealed that he was surprised when he got to the store and found he was first in line. "I thought there would be people here already because I read on the news that people were camped out for like two days outside HMV. People were asking where was the queue, so I jumped in and started it."

At Game, glasses of champagne were given out to the first customers through the doors as well as baseball caps, scarves, blankets, and pizza while people were standing in line.

Game's marketing director Anna Macario said, "We're so pleased with the turnout. I've never seen a queue go round the block here before. I know so many people personally who have never bought a console before but who are now after playing it. It's universally appealing." She added that the company would be getting more stock in from Nintendo before Christmas but that she didn't know as yet when or how much.

Nintendo UK's product manager for home consoles, Rob Lowe, told GameSpot that he believed that the launch events had been a huge success. He said, "I think this is the biggest launch we've ever had. It's also great to see so many girl gamers in the queue. I think one in 10 was a girl gamer." Asked whether he believed that Nintendo's approach to make a console that tried to appeal to everyone had paid off, he raised his arms to gesture to the crowd behind him and said, "Yes, definitely."

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

96 comments
thorsen-ink
thorsen-ink

Call me crazy, but I'd rather spend my time in london clubbing...

Witchsight
Witchsight

Who is this ignorant Ian Wright?

simon16_1990
simon16_1990

Janner i know how you feel because the shop where i preorded my wii from only got 6 n im 17th in line :(

Zelly123
Zelly123

Heh....just got my Wii here in Austria (Near Germany) The store I was at sold out in under 3 min (o.o) ATM im still getting used to the controls but its really fun =P But yeah..since some people mentioned the age part: My lil cousin must be a psychic since he visited like 5 mins after I came home. Just now hes playing tennis and guess what, my grandpa (which lives like one street away) is fighting with him on who gets to play Bowling next.Really awesome to watch =P

janner51
janner51

Send some more Wii please Nintendo. All sold out here already :(

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

@everythingj To be fair though, all the people buying Gears of War (as amazing as it is) are just FPS fans and hardcore gamers. So the type of consumer is quite different from that of the Wii. I agree with your post though. Good job dude.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

@slayer1090 Dont let xbox360_nick get to you. He is clearly distraught because his sprog can't have what he want's when he want's it. Try to understand.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

@xtremeg4m3r I say: It's only a games console. Relax.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

@xbox360_nick I say: If you stop playing Condemned, on your 360, so much then maybe you wouldn't be so full of anger. Chill dude.

xbox360_nick
xbox360_nick

SpareJesus - Go prey to your leader Slayer - LOL fanboy? sure, whatever..

slayer1090
slayer1090

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

SpareJesus
SpareJesus

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

xbox360_nick
xbox360_nick

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Benshki
Benshki

I've had my Wii for the better part of 2 hours, im eating lunch now and taking a break, and its the most fun ive had in a long time playing a console. I've had my 360 for a year, that see me fine with next gen graphics et cetc and the wii provides me with a more broader range of fun games. Whether you think the Wii games are 'childish' or 'pointless' is not really true because in the gaming world your opinions don't mean sh!t. The Wii is fun for all ages, dads on it at the mo hogging the bloody thing playing Golf :/...n00b. So to the point of this message, the Wii has honestly kicked my ass, ive realized Next Gen Graphics and Physics don't equal 'Fun', sure there apart fo the game to make it more realistic, but when i thought about that, aren't games suppose to take you away from reality and take you somewhere different? Think about that one while i Crossbow some n00bs on Zelda xD kthnxbye Can i get w00t up in here for the Wii ?!?!?!?!

toyzer
toyzer

I don't think the Wii hype will end any time soon, especially with a good line up of games spanning through next year (Metroid for hardcore players, Sims for the girls and Brain Age for old fogeys) The game development cycle is shorter for the Wii than it is for 360 or PS3, not to mention much cheaper - so there is no doubt that 3rd party developers will bring out good titles in due time. At the rate Wii is selling, it'll surpass the 360 in sales by September next year.

ZeroTae
ZeroTae

Wondering when is korea launch ^^;

davedeath
davedeath

Pre-ordered mine a couple weeks ago at gamestation Lewisham, they phoned me the other day saying mine will be in before the 18th of Dec. Hopefully it'll come but it aint that bad if it dont till after crimbo. I just wana rub it in my dads face how much better zelda is on Wii than Cube. Atleast by the time i get it the Connect servers will be running properly.

everythingj
everythingj

people are flocking to the nintendo wii, even if they aren't so heavy into gaming. people are flocking to gears of war on the 360, and that console is selling like mad (10 million sold by next year) that leaves the ps3 the super duper console war sandwhich spot. seriously, after the initial wave of fanboys parents buy them their ps3s, i dont see how sony is going to sell enough units to catch up to the momentum of the 360, or the popularity of the wii. gg sony!

99adgil
99adgil

once again backing up my prediciton of 360>wii>ps3

cesare
cesare

HMV suck major A$$!!

feen_uk
feen_uk

Wii: Good idea, hope it doesnt do a Gamecube 360: True next gen games are starting to appear, good :) PS3: People are slagging it off already, guys, Resistance is a launch title, it dont mean ****

Gribb85
Gribb85

Don't blame retailers, nintendo confirmed they would furfil 95-100% of preorders 3 weeks before launch a week before launch they then gave allocations. Drastically short of the original percentage they recommended, so blame nintendo guys not the messanger.

TheLordHimself
TheLordHimself

LOL! Asking if Zelda was a fighting game in front of hundreds of gamers.... classic!

diablobasher
diablobasher

cows_are_great: Not true. It is the stores fault for taking pre-orders before they knew their allocations. I was lucky and got one of the last in my store, yet there were still pre-orders who didnt get consoles. Sure, Nintendo underestimated demand, but the stores were the ones who decided to take rediculous numbers of pre-orders without a clue how many consoles they would get.

cows_are_great
cows_are_great

To all those guys going 'wow brilliant!!! Nintendo rulezz they got everything spot on1!!1!!!' You're Wrong. http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2006/12/07/nintendo_cuts_uk_wii_allocation _claim Nintendo didn't even send enough stock to the UK to satisfy demand for what they had originally told retailers they would be getting. As a result, hundreds (if not thousands) of pre-orders confirmed for day one have been delayed (including mine). Just thought you should know the entire story!

galerian86
galerian86

if nintendo wants to win this gen war, they better start making or convincing 3rd party dev to make good action games other than zelda... red steel wouldnt do good

donaldo1989
donaldo1989

To hatefulmidget You know that 3rd party support is determined by sales. Therefore, whichever system sells well will get alot of support since developers mainly want money

SpareJesus
SpareJesus

"PS3 will win the war (everyone will buy it), xbox 360 second, and wii third. No doubt about it!" Nice opinion. Personally, I think the Wii or 360 will win, with the PS3 coming third all the way. "No doubt about it!" I'm getting my Wii today, though I'm not given permission to play it 'till Christmas. I need to get to a demo-station somehow.

Junomaster2006
Junomaster2006

Yeah, only rich people would buy the ps3, but what game besides Resistance is good? I know, GUNDAM!

HatefulMidget
HatefulMidget

In my opinion all this hype for the Wii won't last long. Within in a year or so it'll just be first party games with a lack of third party games like what happened to the gamecube. PS3 will win the war (everyone will buy it), xbox 360 second, and wii third. No doubt about it!

Piaras007
Piaras007

Just wish it had another quality title, then I might consider a purchase. All this impulse buying is stupid.

lowenergycycle
lowenergycycle

@fartys "its almost 8 and im goin 2 asdas 2 try and get one, wish me luck!" Aww bless! Good luck little guy!

babyeaterwolf
babyeaterwolf

at last...thats all i can say, i want to play a Wii now tho, none this xbox360 crap

rext_1
rext_1

WIIs Taking it all back

nickscho
nickscho

congrats to all you in the UK!

eric2mrng
eric2mrng

going to get my wii with zelda now.. wii will hopefully be the standard for all living rooms here in the uk.

Dolacide
Dolacide

I wonder how many were available at the launch.

NeoGen85
NeoGen85

In my opinion, the Wii will remain strong if it can dish out those triple A titles through the year. Nintendo has always done well with first-party games, but the Wii will definitely need a stronger hand with third-party titles(successful ones at that). With great promotional advertisement, games, and the price I can see the console sticking with the best of them. I believe that the Playstation 3 will continue to sell what Sony has shipped. With the supply and demand being extremely high the anticipation to get one all the way into 2007 will still be there. The problem is how big will the installed-base be next year and how will that affect third party developers. Konami and Square Enix(as well as other Japanese developers) have already stressed over that situation in Japan which is a partial reason for the PS3 price drop in that region. This can also affect the bigger exclusive titles. Developer are not only trying to create memoriable experiences, but also they are trying to create a profit. The Xbox 360 is the competitor that has the experience with the next-generation market. Developers are getting comfortable about creating software for the system. The Wii and the PS3 have to compete with competition that's already created a sizeable installed-base. But most gamers who use the Xbox 360 are in the western market. Japan still isn't convinced with the hardware; this includes developers(to a degree). I am not sure if Microsoft can change it around in Japan. If major third party developers in Japan like Square Enix, Konami, and Capcom can create/transfer popular franchises on a less expensive system they might have a chance. But then again, with the Western market for the videogame industry being larger then ever, will the Japanese market really matter in the future(accept with hardware and software development). Remember this, 30,000(or more) out of 92,000 Japanese gamers did buy the PS3 version of that Gundam game.

Death2009
Death2009

Colinllama don't forget to post what you thought about it.

gav250
gav250

i have 2 wait till after skool! At least i kno i have 1.

Colinllama
Colinllama

I've just got home from my local Game store with my Wii, Zelda, Wii Play and an extra remote and nunchuck. See you in the spring (well, whenever i finish Zelda...) :D

Death2009
Death2009

santiagochile I don't own a 360, I plan on buying one. And what is fun and what is not depends on the user not the system. Yinyang, some people may just flat out hate, simple as that, doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you, just that you don't like it.

diablobasher
diablobasher

Off to Game to pick up my pre-order now :D Looks like Wii is a big success here as well, go Nintendo :)

yinyang3
yinyang3

Sweet, everyone loves the Wii! Except for those people who are unsecure with their masculinity. They're afraid to use a controller that has you move...