From Paris with Love: DS Event Report
Report from Nintendo's European launch event in Paris - price, date details and lots more besides.
The wait is over for Nintendo fans. The company's new dual-screen handheld, the Nintendo DS, will be released in Europe on 11 March at a cost of £99 (or €149). The announcement was made in Paris during a press event in which Nintendo president Satoru Iwata (Paris speech video, interview) emphasised his company's efforts to give Europe more of the attention it deserves.
"Europe is an extremely important market for Nintendo and we are pleased we can offer such a short period of time between the US and European launch," Iwata said. "We believe that the Nintendo DS will change the way people play videogames and our mission remains to expand the game play experience."
Iwata has been one of the more vocal advocates of a simplification of videogames, which he says have become too complex for casual gamers. In December, Iwata said, "the old formula for success - the combination of high-specification game consoles and advanced graphics - is no longer working."
To combat this, Nintendo is working to give non-gamers and gamers alike an alternative to what is currently offered and the Nintendo DS is the first step towards that goal.
The £99 price tag for the Nintendo DS is in line with prices for the handheld in the US and Japan and will come as a relief to many who have grown accustomed to being fleeced at the tills for hardware.
And by putting the price at the psychologically important sub-£100 level, Nintendo has put pressure on Sony, which is set to release its own handheld, the PSP, at around the same time.
As important as the hardware, though, is the accompanying software and Nintendo has used the extra four months between the North American/Japanese launches and the European launch in March to put together an eclectic mix of titles, which takes advantage of the unique capabilities of the Nintendo DS.
There will be 15 games available on launch day and, despite the substantial improvement in graphics and sound offered by the games, they are still set to sell for between £19 and £29, which is the same price as current Game Boy Advance software.
The launch library features several titles that have already proved themselves overseas and includes Nintendo's Super Mario 64 DS, WarioWare Touched! and Sega's Project Rub.
But gamers won't have to hand over cash immediately as Nintendo will be including a demo for Metroid Prime: Hunters in a lmiteed first batch. The demo serves as a showcase of the Nintendo DS' unique abilities and has both singleplayer and wireless multiplayer levels to try out.
The handheld also contains the built-in chat software PictoChat, which allows Nintendo DS owners within 100ft of one another to chat using the stylus and touch screen.
The full list of games set to launch alongside the Nintendo DS on 11 March is below:
- Super Mario 64 DS (Nintendo) - 3D platform
- WarioWare Touched! (Nintendo) - minigame collection
- Pokémon Dash (Nintendo) - racing
- Polarium (Nintendo) - puzzle
- Tiger Woods PGA TOUR (EA) - golf
- The URBZ: Sims In The City (EA) - life simulator
- Spider-Man 2 (Activision) - action
- Project Rub (SEGA) - puzzle/action
- Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits (Namco) - puzzle
- Rayman DS (Ubisoft) - platform
- Asphalt Urban GT (Gameloft/Ubisoft) - driving
- Sprung (Gameloft/Ubisoft) - dating simulation
- Zoo Keeper (Ignition) - puzzle
- Ping Pals (THQ) - minigame collection
- Robots (Vivendi) - action
But the launch line-up of games is just the beginning for Nintendo. There are already 120 titles in development at the company's own design studios and third-party developers around the world. These are scheduled to start arriving soon after launch, to ensure that Nintendo DS owners have a steady stream of games.
The games already in progress will offer new takes on old ideas and also completely new experiences. Some of the upcoming games include new instalments in the Mario Kart, Castlevania, Need For Speed and Advance Wars series.
Nintendo is also working on a number of new titles, including the virtual pet game Nintendogs, Yoshi's Touch & Go, in which you draw clouds to guide Baby Mario to safety, and Jam With The Band, a music game that will allow several people to get together to form a virtual band.
The Nintendo DS has been on sale in North America since November and December in Japan, and in that time almost 3 million of the handhelds have been sold. Time will tell if Nintendo experiences the same success in Europe, but with Sony launching the PSP right around the same time, Nintendo's continued dominance of the handheld market is by no means assured.
See the links below for our other coverage from Paris.
Editor, Kikizo Games
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Satoru Iwata: Paris DS Speech
Entire conference speech from Nintendo president (480x360, 0.8Mbps)
Mario Kart DS
Eight-player wireless race, as played by Nintendo execs including Satoru Iwata. Hi-res shakycam from the European DS launch conference in Paris, Jan 27 2005. (640x380, 1.7Mbps, 25fps)
DS Paris Software Reel #1
Includes hi-res shakycam footage of MORE MARIO KART DS, CASTLEVANIA DS, Advance Wars DS, Nintendogs & Yoshi Touch & Go!(640x380, 1.7Mbps, 25fps)
DS Paris Software Reel #2
Additional launch reel with London bus stop nonsense showing mainly launch titles. (640x380, 1.7Mbps, 25fps)
Loads More DS Video
Our collection of archived DS video coverage all in one place on this page.