March 2nd, 2006, 18:03 Posted By: wraggster
Japanese gamers of both genders and all ages lined up in their hundreds to buy Nintendo's redesigned DS Lite, the launch for which has dwarfed that of the original handheld as retailers posted sold out signs within hours of opening.
Some stores opened their doors earlier than normal to cater for customers waiting in line, with larger retail outlets across Japan reporting queues of approximately 300 or so eager consumers, and even smaller stores seeing queues of 100 people.
Stocks of the original DS handheld have been in scarce supply for some time now, Nintendo apparently clearing existing stock almost entirely, in preparation for the launch of the smaller, redesigned version.
The recent announcement regarding production issues that have resulted in a delayed launch for the Ice Blue and Enamel Navy versions of the handheld don't appear to have had any noticeable impact on the launch, consumers apparently perfectly content with the Crystal White version if it means they're able to get in there and grab one on the first day. The two coloured versions are expected to be available from March 11th.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata had initially stated that the launch would be supported by shipments of 500,000 in the first two weeks and up to one million for the whole of March. The production issues will undoubtedly have impacted on those figures, but by the size of the queues for the launch, it appears additional shipments may well be required to meet the exceptionally high demand.
Speculation places the DS Lite on US shores around May, with an EU launch to follow shortly afterwards - although Nintendo has yet to confirm any official launch plans for territories outside of its native Japan.
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