West Coast launch: Gone with the Wii

Midnight launch at LA theme park features music, acrobats, Nintendo brass, and loads of dedicated fans. Must-see video of one fan's devotion included.

Hundreds at Universal Studios waited for the Wii, just before midnight.

UNIVERSAL CITY, California--At the stroke of midnight on the West Coast, the launch of the next console generation came and went, as the Nintendo Wii debuted to a crowd of eager fans, many of whom had begun to line up on Friday morning in anticipation. The first Wii sale came as the conclusion of a day-long celebration held at the EB Games retail store in the Universal Studios theme park, just outside of Los Angeles.

Along the way, gamers and passersby were treated to live music from a deejay, acrobatic performances, loads of Wii-branded schwag and, of course, Wii and Nintendo DS game demos galore. One of the more interesting demos on hand was specially modified Segway scooters outfitted with high-definition monitors, periodically winding their way through the crowd and literally bringing the games to the people.

The Wii on wheels.

As the final hours ticked off, the line, which only hours earlier had featured only a few hundred people, had grown dramatically, roughly doubling in size and curling up and over a walkway on the opposite side of the Citywalk shopping area. Late in the day, store employees handed out wristbands to those in line, guaranteeing a Wii for everyone with a wristband. Even after the bands ran out, however, folks were still taking their chances and lining up, hoping to get lucky and snag a console.

On hand for the festivities at the launch was Nintendo of America senior vice president of marketing George Harrison, who briefly stepped behind the counter at the EB Games store to help sell the first Wii console. When asked about how production has gone for the first batch of Wii consoles, Harrison was upbeat, saying the company is still on target to have 4 million units available worldwide by the end of the year. "It's the first time we've actually launched in all territories at the same time. [In the past] Europe was usually a few months later, but Europe is also launching, as well." Harrison went on to say that he expects Nintendo to have shipped 2 million units in the United States alone by the end of December or early January.

Stacks of Wii consoles tempt gamers, inside the EB Games store.

One of the Nintendo fans in the very back of the line was Cynthia Hocker of La Crescenta, California, who also happened to be the very last person to receive a wristband, guaranteeing a Wii for her 15-year-old son, who will likely be more excited than most to receive it. "It was a Christmas present," said Hocker, "but he's going to have heart surgery in three weeks, and I'm going to give it to him after the heart surgery so he can play it while he's lying down."

Jonathan Mann, prize in hand; Nintendo exec George Harrison is standing at the register, at right.

Back in the front of the line, the Mario-hat-and-red-suspender-clad Jonathan Mann, in front of a throng of camera-toting journalists and Nintendo staffers, proudly walked to the counter just after midnight to purchase the first Wii of the night. Holding the console above his head for all the media to see, Mann was enthusiastic about his purchase, no matter how long it took him to finally get it. "I'm really excited. You have no idea how excited I am. Seriously. I've been waiting for this since 1991."

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Discussion

138 comments
flame_hk84
flame_hk84

Hey look fellows, I mean really... If you wanna play tennis, then play tennis, if you wanna play bowling then play bowling Playing sports in real life is better then using a controller no matter how revolutionary

flame_hk84
flame_hk84

I can't believe people will want this graphically incompetent console :(

9344891
9344891

it looked great i hope it goes as well over in the uk. Go Nintendo

Just4thevideo
Just4thevideo

Jonathans got a bit of red eye in that picture...

TH1000
TH1000

Gone with the Wii :D i find that funny

faizali86
faizali86

i am happy to see that the wii launch wasnt as chaotic as ps3

blindsided82
blindsided82

Wii = This is the one that really breaks away from the pack. Not really aiming specifically for the hardcore, though many hardcore gamers do not mind following Nintendo along for the ride, this system actually caters to pretty much everyone. From old folks who've never picked up a game, to your parents who could never understand how you could sit for 6 hours straight playing FFVII, to your annoying sister who always said games are stupid, to even the 3-4 yr old who doesn't quite grasp the concept of button coordination, this game system is something literally the entire family can get into and genuinely enjoy. Most likely the choice of every parent looking for something to appease their kids without turning them into button mashing couch potatoes as many games require that you get up and move, and WiiSports does make you sweat if you play it long enough, and I'm not just talking about your palms. Super hardcore gamers who think that turning that burrito over in the microwave to heat it another minute is just too much work need not apply.

blindsided82
blindsided82

XBox 360 = For the hardcore enough yet has a life and interest outside of gaming crowd, this is choice as it leaves tons of space to have fun customizing and doing other things like playing your music with any game (custom soundtrack), changing the look (customizable faceplate, background, and gamer picture), and having full access to your Windows based PC and all the files in it (which by the way saves on a ton of space on your HDD that would be otherwise taken up by music and/or video files), and great online features (Music videos, game demos, game trailers, movie trailers, extra game content, etc, etc, etc.)(Oh, and soon to feature On-Demand TV Shows as recent as last night, and movies). The king of online as they already established themselves last generation, this is the one for all who are really into gaming, but also enjoy doing any number of other things, from just listening to music to playing with the look of your gaming experience to catching some shows/movies/demos.

blindsided82
blindsided82

PS3 = Only harcore gamers need apply. Still a baby in the online stages, this one makes up in its hardware as it's the top when it comes to straight performance due to what's inside. If you're the type that knows and endulges in the joy of locking yourself in your basement/dark room to become totally immersed in a killer gaming experience (though you'll have to wait about 6 months before anything worthwhile comes out), and you are the "uber" harcore type that uses words like "pawnage", then this is the one for you.

blindsided82
blindsided82

One thing to remember this Gaming Generation, as it's different over any other generation to date. Every other time it was 2-3 systems doing the same thing, same basic setup, just different games, trying to out-do the other(s) in the same kind of fight. This time however we have three distinctly different game systems with three different gaming experiences. This time it's no longer who's better than the other, as each is aimed at a different group. Each is better for a different kind of group/person, and good for a different purpose:

blindsided82
blindsided82

There's nothing like realizing Reggie's plan of attack this generation in it's entirity. For instance when I come home from work at midnight and the lights in the house are still on. I open up the door and to my suprise, not only is the whole damn family still up, but my dad, my sister, my brother and his two friends are all having a blast playing my newly bought Wii. I have nothing against the other systems, as I own a 360 myself, but there's something to be said here of Nintendo's plan this time around. While the two "mega-systems" are battling for the fandom of the hardcore gamers that have been fought for over the past couple of decades, the Wii is sneaking off to find a whole new fan base. It's kinda like the search for alternate fuel sources. Two mega powers fight over the limited oil supply, and here this unnoticed faction sneaks off and ends up making out like gang busters with it's newly found and won energy source. What makes it even more ironic is how much the others have written them off as no consequence at all, and to see more people, gamers, non gamers, and critics alike, satisfied with their Wii experience thus far more than any other system...

blindsided82
blindsided82

Ya shoulda preordered at GameCrazy. I go the system, two extra controllers (no extra nunchucks), preordered Red Steel and Zelda, and had the option of adding in Trauma Center, and almost got Rayman. The extra controllers were added in as an afterthought too. I'm happy with mine so far. X360 = $400 Wii = $250 Having two systems with less initial negative reaction, more awesome games, and a more satisfying gaming experience overall for just as much as a PS3 fanboy spent this weekend = priceless

Cubb7
Cubb7

I wish I was there!!!

cameeu
cameeu

they only had Marvel, Red-Steel, Tony Hawk's: Down Hill Jam at EB games in cherry lane, ppl who pre-orderd got Zelda.

cameeu
cameeu

I got mine from EB games and there was nothing to play Lucky ppl.

macmurdock
macmurdock

A small response to JackHoleFace00 Life is what you yourself make of it.His life might be playing games all of the time.What is wrong with it,he is not hurting anyone with that.And who knows,maybe his girlfriend is standing outside wearing a Zelda outfit.

KarlZoneX
KarlZoneX

Frankazami Right now it seems like everyone expects the Wii to win and the PS3 to fail. That's good because I want Sony haters to continue underestimating the Sony brand, so that it becomes all the more satisfying to see them writhe in agony as the PS3 heads off to a dismal slow start, and then skyrockets to victory at the sign of the first price cut, just as they underestimated the PS2 at its early phase, and just as they underestimated the PS1 as Sony's first entry into the gaming industry. I will be laughing my butt off at the total pawnage. -- That's actually one of the reasons some can't stand Sony.. they're very arrogant in how they handle things, and some of their dedicated fans are just as obnoxious. My only excuse for not buying a PS3 is the price... but I'm starting to get to where I won't buy one even after a price drop due to how annoying Sony and their fan base are becoming. That's a shame, because I've always been a Sony fan myself until just a few months ago.

runstalker
runstalker

None of the systems are going to fail. All have enjoyed a marketing blitzkrieg. Failure for one, if it is to come, will only be showing signs in late 2007. For now, all the rich, debauched westerners are spending like fools and we'll eat up (+ sustain) anything for a time. New video game systems included.

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

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

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

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

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

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

luigimario_64
luigimario_64

The launch of the PS3 was pathetic compared to the launch of the Wii.

brandontek
brandontek

The wii is going to blast PS3 when there games come out. like the graphics card in the Wii is pretty much teh same as the Wii. plus the games are graphic-wise much the same then the Ps3.

piecake
piecake

wow i wish i'd gone and lived in the us and i would have gone not for a wii just for the banter!

violentmonkey
violentmonkey

LOL! Gamejew (Johnathan Mann) bought the 1st Wii.

tastycasey27
tastycasey27

Frankazami Right now it seems like everyone expects the Wii to win and the PS3 to fail. That's good because I want Sony haters to continue underestimating the Sony brand, so that it becomes all the more satisfying to see them writhe in agony as the PS3 heads off to a dismal slow start, and then skyrockets to victory at the sign of the first price cut, just as they underestimated the PS2 at its early phase, and just as they underestimated the PS1 as Sony's first entry into the gaming industry. I will be laughing my butt off at the total pawnage. tastcasey27 you mean like the ds vs psp where people like you said the same thing, and looked wot happened there, the ds outsells the psp. i dont care who wins ill own all the systems but dont count your chickens on the ps3 winning, the same thing COULD happen to the ps3 to wot happened to the psp. i think xbox will probably win anyway as they are way ahead, as for 2nd or third place i wouldnt like to say.

diablobasher
diablobasher

Rhygeta: The American launch = The entire world. Think before you speak. Europe has yet to release the Wii, it will go on sale here in about 3 weeks. I will be buying one, as will many others. Also, you have to consider not everywhere will be sold out of them, there are bound to be stores hidden away with some left, and stores in smaller cities or areas with less gamers/interest which will also have not sold.

Rhygeta
Rhygeta

Um... Nintendo said they would have 1 million available at launch... how is it that only 672k has been sold? where are the other 428k units gone? How can a company not have a sufficient amount of consoles when it uses 5 year old hardware? I doubt the controllers would take any bulk of the supposed production time... so are they intentionally going to offshoot their supposed "4 million by year end" goal on purpose to try and generate "hype" for a "sold out" console? Sony released all of their units and the fact that prodcution issues have been cited from various news sites means it should be legit...in nintendo's case, what held back their production? I believe it was said the PS3 will last 10 years and not 15...and realistically speaking, unless everyone wants a game running on UE or HL engines over and over again, I don't think we will actually be seeing games being developed any shorter then the time it takes to make halo 3 or crysis... I don't want a system that only produces 20 games a year due to the time involved in developing games.

olthof
olthof

Good on him haha, awesome

Frankazami
Frankazami

Right now it seems like everyone expects the Wii to win and the PS3 to fail. That's good because I want Sony haters to continue underestimating the Sony brand, so that it becomes all the more satisfying to see them writhe in agony as the PS3 heads off to a dismal slow start, and then skyrockets to victory at the sign of the first price cut, just as they underestimated the PS2 at its early phase, and just as they underestimated the PS1 as Sony's first entry into the gaming industry. I will be laughing my butt off at the total pawnage.

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

donvarriel Well, Nintendo could get kinda backstabbed financially if they were to obsessively market the Internet browser as a MAJOR point of the appeal of the Wii console. Remember parents worries about whether their kids would accidentally get access to porn, offensive content like swearing, propaganda, and etc. It's just a small thing in the Wii console, you can just use the computer to surf the net. It's no biggie to exclusively market that little, tiny thing about the Wii a bit too much, IMHO.

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

chrisdojo "so.... what are the sales figures???" Go check out www.nexgenwars.com Yes, there's no "t" in that website.

EmoAC
EmoAC

Those tempting "stacks of Wii consoles" are also in the Game Crazy that I work at! Probably because they're empty boxes with "for display only" slapped on every side. God you're dumb GameSpot.

exocel
exocel

speak for yourselves 17 days to go till i get a wii, my 360's gettin lonely,lol.

Oliwam
Oliwam

That guy in front of the line is known as Game Jew for all you people's information. He's an awesome guy, and made about 40 songs about the Wii for the past few months. He does have his own show, and he really is an awesome guy. I'm glad to see him get some fame. He does deserve it.

pencilpusher69
pencilpusher69

Yes, the PS3 will last 15 years. Oh, we have also created this cruise ship, the Titanic, which is unsinkable.

KingKoop
KingKoop

That firsty guy dressed like Mario needs some sleep I think along with singing lesson :lol: But seriosly this is cool !!!

NFunspoiler
NFunspoiler

Wow, awesome. I wish i knew around exactly how many Wii's they had in stock and how many people showed up.

jwrebholz
jwrebholz

I'll wait a few months until the furor dies down. Then i'll get the system with the best games.

undox
undox

I understand that he was excited to get the Wii, but waiting since 1991? Get serious. Nobody even thought of this stuff back then. If he said 2004, then it would be understandable.

living420
living420

wow...some one needs a outdoor hobby.

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

so.... what are the sales figures???

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

Great ... it's out already ... can't wait to see how it is!

Rhubarb9
Rhubarb9

wait...spiderman supports the wii? no way he is all for ps3 and bluray! his movie is bluray exclusive!

nintendoAndrew
nintendoAndrew

Good for that mom. I hope her son does well. I was sadly not one to get a Wii this launch day and im so mad at that. Oh well, at least in christmas when i am sure i will get one, i will have more games. Oh and to anyne who thinks that Wii games are bad because of thier ratings, 1. ratings aren't everything, 2. Check other sites. Gamespot gave all Wii games the lowest score of every site. No offense intended, just wanting to state for future reference.

Dreski83
Dreski83

alllll them wii's just sitting around... we only got 12 at my shop but at least I know who we were robbed by... stinking LA... arg I say!!