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The queue outside GAME - Image courtesy CVG

Wii projected onto the HMV building - Image courtesy CVG

Celebs on site for Wii Tennis - Image courtesy CVG

After two days, Marwan Elgamal has his prize - Image courtesy EuroGamer

The Metropolitan Police show they care - Image courtesy CVG
Nintendo's newest machine of joy has officially spread across the globe

The Nintendo Wii is officially a worldwide phenomenon. The new console last week launched in most parts of Europe, Australia and New Zealand and was greeted by gamers in the similar fashion of the North American and Japanese launches.

No matter on which side of the ocean or hemisphere, gamers alike were lining up days in advance to ensure that they would go home with a Wii. “I can't believe it's real, I've been waiting for this for ages,” said Marwan Elgamal, 17, after he had queued for two days in London’s cold and rain. “It was definitely worth it, I'd do it again,”

Just as how Nintendo used Toys ‘R’ Us and EB Games in the U.S. as official launch stores, HMV was the official launch partner for the UK launch – but reports say that retailer GAME received the greatest number of units. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, GAME CEO Lisa Morgan said of the launch, “I have to say, I've just walked around the corner, and I think that's the biggest queue I've ever seen for any of the launches I've attended – and I've done every single one.”

Police were called in the night before the morning of launch to keep order over the hundreds of gamers who were lined up outside major shops. London Police went even further by proactively providing a written safety warning with every Wii console sold advising new owners of the dangers of owning one of the season’s most coveted items (see image lower right).

Regardless of territory, Wii consoles completely sold out on launch day. “It took just 10 minutes for all of them to go,” said a salesman in a Virgin Megastore in Paris.

Nintendo’s UK General Manager David Yarnton said that around 50,000 Wii units were sold within the first 12 hours of release. “We are delighted with the amazing response to Wii and that people of all ages and gaming experience are embracing the way that we are turning the industry on its head. With so many units sold it is great to see that people will be enjoying Wii with their families this Christmas,” Yarnton said.

As much as Yarnton is pleased to see people enjoying Wii with their families, there are even more who are frantically searching to put a console either next to their television sets or underneath the Christmas tree. Gamers, mothers, fathers, significant others and friends all throughout North American have been on the hunt for a Wii ever since launch day, only to find that even the millions of Wii promised by Nintendo to be not enough. The situation looks to be no different on the other side of the pond.

“We're hoping to get more deliveries next week. We haven't had anything confirmed as of yet so we don't want to over promise and under deliver, but as soon as we get stock it will be turned around and in the stores the following day,” said Morgan.

Gamers down under were in the hundreds outside an EB Games location in Melbourne, though the situation is a little bit different in the southern hemisphere. Australia has always been a tough market for Nintendo, and according to reports, some stores are not experiencing complete sellouts within minutes of launch. Some gamers were able to walk into stores without preorders and walk out with a Wii.

New Zealand, on the other hand, appears to experience the rapid sellouts that the rest of the world has. A store manager of a GamePlanet in Auckland believes that finding a Wii before Christmas would be near impossible. “It would be like finding a golden egg,” he said.





"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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