Monday, November 20, 2006

Wii Launches in North America

NCS wanders into the N.Y. launch
«©NCSX» The Wii launched in North America on Sunday morning and the flagship Toys R' Us megastore in Manhattan allowed twilight shoppers to purchase the consoles in orderly lines. Crowds were relatively subdued although there was a buzz in the air and a number of jokesters. As dawn broke, NCS crew drove up to Rockefeller Center and the lines in front of Nintendo World were apparent and stretched for a few blocks as patrons waited in a civil manner for the store to open up. Once opened, the buyers shuffled forward patiently and slowly filled the store. Inside, the background sound was basically a dull murmur as purchasers paid and picked up their systems. News crews were flitting about and interviewing early purchasers and getting their impressions.

Concentration of Wii in some stores
There didn't appear to be any shortage of stock at the Toys R' Us or Nintendo World in New York and the Wii was readily available in contrast to the Playstation 3 a few days ago. When an NCS staffer mentioned to a few people waiting on line at Nintendo World that the Wii was available at other stores in Manhattan without having to wait, no one budged. It was either distrust, disdain, or they had waited for so long that they required the satisfaction of grabbing the Wii only at Nintendo World. Despite the abundance of inventory at stores in NYC, shops in the outer boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island) were less fortunate with many customers writing in to NCS and reporting lack of availability at big box retailers as well as specialty shops such as EB/GS. Did Nintendo concentrate all of their inventory at flagship stores which were covered heavily by media and camera crews? Looks like it.... The situation around the country was mixed with reports of shortages but many of the customers who wrote in over the weekend were able to purchase their Wiis on Sunday morning.

NCS First Impressions
When our staffer picked up his Wii at the main Toys R' Us (yes, we paid retail plus tax), he remarked that the box was heavy. Not PS3 heavy but hefty nonetheless. This was surprising since the console itself is light. When setting up the Wii, a sensor bar must be positioned above or underneath the television screen so that the Wii-mote is detected. Kudos to Nintendo for making the sensor bar cable lengthy which allowed for freedom of installation in our dedicated gaming room. Software discs slide into the Wii through a motorized slot which follows the design used in the PS3 and Macs. The free pack-in, Wii Sports, is an enjoyable collection of games that shows off the capabilities of the Wii-mote. Wii Bowling is a blast and requires that you swing your arm (while holding the Wii controller) in an arc just like real bowling. As an added bonus, the Wii plays Gamecube games - we tested USA DBZ as our guinea pig and it booted up without issue. NCS will be able to peddle our abundance of GC software inventory for another generation.

NCS Stock Situation
Please note that hardware supplies are scarce but we expect to receive some Wii hardware inventory in the next few days. NCS will contact customers on our e-mail reservation list in the order that we received their preorder requests. NCS is supplying the USA version of the Wii at ~US$275 per console but we cannot accept new orders at this time as we have to fill preorders first. Please wait for news on upcoming shipments which should take place in the next 1-2 weeks. If you don't receive an email from NCS today, rest assured that we will contact you once we have news on further shipments from our USA distributors.

Wii Software Availability
All of the Wii launch games are available from NCS including small quantities of Zelda Twilight Princess that are allocated to customers already. Please note however that accessories are in short supply and we don't have extra nunchuks or remote controllers at this time.

Closing Thoughts
The Wii launch felt more comfortable and relaxed than the charged atmosphere of the PS3 debut. Similar to the situation in Japan, speculators snapped up PS3 consoles in the United States and hoarded inventory to resell at hefty profits. There doesn't appear to be as many speculators capitalizing on the Wii due to the larger supplies of inventory released to the market. Nintendo's last couple of consoles (N64 and Gamecube) haven't set the world on fire but the Wii may change Nintendo's standing in the gaming market. The games are fun and the control scheme is innovative. It's up to third party publishers to support the console and develop games that fully utilize the capabilities of the Wiimote. Nintendo can't do it alone and needs staunch allies in order to challenge the reign of Playstation.

Links of interest

New York City launch
Los Angeles launch
Smooth Midnight Proceedings
Reggie Fils-Aime signs first Wii sale at Toys R' Us
Man adds "Triforce" to name, kids expected to be named Ocarina and Majora,2933,230561,00.html
Not much Ebay Mania
Weighing the pros and cons of the Wii
We don't want PS3, We want Wii

Wii controller survives throw

Dreamcast Wristwatch

«©NCSX» Eight years ago, the Dreamcast launched in Japan and the console generated high levels of excitement and rabid devotion. Highly vaunted projects such as Shenmue and Dead or Alive 2 held the fan base in thrall with dazzling visuals and innovation. Throw in a library of arcade perfect Naomi ports and the machine was destined to become lord of the kingdom.

Never happened.

Three years into its run, Sega pulled the plug on the DC and the console was relegated to orphan status - ostensible roadkill for the Playstation 2 juggernaut. NCS collectively shed a tear that day and sniffled a bit.

To celebrate the demise of the Dreamcast, Sega Direct re-releases the Dreamcast wristwatch that was originally sold on D-Direct many moons ago. A silver-colored DC console shell houses the timepiece with a lid that flips upwards by pressing the "eject" button on the lower left side of the console. When a stranger on the street stops you and asks, "Please sir, what time is it?" flick your wrist up, nudge open the DC watch with a gentle tap and impress the stranger with the magnificence of shiny² Dreamcast time telling. With newfound admiration, the stranger will cast his eyes upon you and regard you as a gentlemen, a scholar, and a connoisseur of only the finest things that this mortal coil can provide. He will also whisper, "Bravissimo..." in a raspy voice filled with awe.

DC Wristwatch Features
» DC body is made of brass
» Battery powered operation
» Waterproof watch body

PS3 General Updates

«©NCSX» A partial shipment of Japanese PS3 20GB and 60GB consoles arrived today and some backorders will ship today. If your order is shipping this afternoon, you will have already received an email with a shipment confirmation and tracking details.

The remainder of all of our backorders will ship tomorrow when the rest of our shipments arrive. Emails have also been sent out earlier today to alert our customers of their Tuesday shipments. If you have any additions or shipping upgrades, please notify us before 2PM EST tomorrow.

The 20GB PS3 consoles are currently in stock and available to ship this afternoon but the 60GB consoles will be in stock for new orders tomorrow. PS3 prices from suppliers in Japan remain high as of last night and quantities are still difficult to locate in bulk. To fill our orders, NCS is purchasing from multiple suppliers who can provide us with small numbers of units and we're importing them in piecemeal fashion.

Import Release Outlook

NDS Jump! Ultimate Stars leads preorders for the week and will arrive on Wednesday of this week. Please note that NCS will begin processing transactions for Jump! Ultimate Stars today due to the high volume.
NDS Bokura no Taiyou Django & Sabata Konami

Jump! Ultimate Stars Nintendo

Minna no DS Curling Rocket

Oshare Majo Love and Berry Sega
PS2 Galaxy Angel Commemorative Box Konami

Galaxy Angel Moonlit Lovers - Best Konami

Guitar Freaks V2 & DrumMania V2 Konami

J-League Winning Eleven 10 + Europa League Konami

Twinkle Star Sprites: La Petite Princess BEST SNK
PSP Jeanne D'Arc SCE

Riviera: Yakusoku no Chi Konami
X360 Culdcept Saga Bandai

Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 Tecmo

Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 Faceplate Microsoft

USA Release Outlook

GBA Superman Returns EA

Yggdra Union Atlus
NDS Dogz Ubisoft

Superman Returns EA
PS2 College Hoops 2K7 2K Sports

Superman Returns: Fortress of Solitude EA

Delta Force Black Hawk Down Team Sabre Vivendi
PSP Tony Hawk's Project 8 Activision
XBX College Hoops 2K7 2K Sports

Superman Returns EA
X360 College Hoops 2K7 2K Sports

Rainbow Six Vegas Ubisoft

Superman Returns EA
Wii Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2 Atari

Excite Truck Nintendo

Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Nintendo X

Need for Speed Carbon EA