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More Next-gen Madness - The Japanese Wii Launch // UPDATE

Nintendo had one more stop in Japan this weekend, before finally bringing their Wii console to Europe and Australia in just a few more days. As expected, all available consoles were sold in Japan shortly after the console's launch this Saturday (December 2), and many stores had sold out even before opening to eager customers who made the mistake not to pre-order in advance. Early reports are estimating that Nintendo had around 400,000 Wii consoles available at launch, significantly more than what Sony had at the PlayStation 3 launch in Japan - or in any other part of the world, for that matter.

But even so, some customers were said to have left empty-handed from the hundreds-long controlled queues formed outside major retailers. In Tokyo, some stores reportedly had more than 1,000 (and even close to 2,000) people waiting to get their hands on a Wii, which in Japan is priced at 25,000 yen (167 Euro / $223). By comparison, the complete PlayStation 3 console package costs 60,000 yen (400 Euro / $534).

And since we inevitably ended up comparing the two consoles yet again, here's another one, from Kotaku: Wii buyers vs. PS3 buyers. Which queue would you rather wait in?...

Aside from the usual stuff bundled in the Wii package, the console also has a rather extensive safety manual in Japan, advising against various idiotic things you could do with the console or controllers, and also acknowledges that the Wiimote can interfere with pacemakers.

Nintendo previously promised around 1 million Wii units for the region by the end of the year, which, if the launch figures are accurate, would leave Japan with 600,000 more consoles still due for release in 2006.

Next up is Australia on December 7 (who already accounts for 30,000 pre-orders), and Europe on December 8. Hayaku!

UPDATE: The (estimated) results are in: after the first two days in Japan, the Wii sold 372,000 units. There were also reported 177,000 units for Wii Sports (sold separately) and just 145,000 units for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

(N.B. Archive text, links removed)
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