It’s not even out yet and the 3DS is set to be the most successful console launch in the UK. Why? Because of the rampant pre-orders that are nearing the 100,000 mark, a goal Nintendo set themselves and are likely to best come March 25th when the systems goes on sale. Little or no money may have passed between vendor and consumer but the promise of a sale via pre-order means Nintendo have beaten their personal best for a console launch, previously held by the Wii.
Speaking with MCV, UK head of sales Andy Yates said: “With three weeks to go we’re in a great position, as pre-orders are still building. The message to retail right now is that availability is strong and stores can plan with confidence to keep the accelerator on.” If availability is so strong, it should mean the drought of hardware which plagued the Wii’ launch won’t be an issue for the 3DS. But with so many adverts now appearing on TV showing the ‘average joe’ in amazement at the glasses-less 3D, the initial shipment of consoles may still sell out on day one. The ads may be a tad hokey but it’s hard if not impossible to show the full effect of something like the 3DS on the majority of TVs. To help, Nintendo held events across the country showcasing the system and allowing for gamers to pre-order it afterwards. Marketing director Dawn Paine said: “That has been our ambition all along – to get the UK into a ‘feeding frenzy’ situation.”
Nintendo are confident that the 3DS will be a landmark of technology in 2011 with little fear of potential sales being gobbled up by competing hardware like mobile phones. The reason for this is because of the 3D capabilities making it the first of its kind in a mass-market space. Ironically, the draw of glasses-less 3D isn’t why a lot of early adopters are recommending the handheld. They’re harping about the fact that it’s a new piece of Nintendo hardware with greater online integration, a better interface and control method and stronger processing power. And of course there are those who want to buy a 3DS just because it’s a sexy new piece of tech. For me, it’s a combination of everything!