Interviews

Nintendo on 3DS: 'Our biggest launch ever'

Pt. 1: UK boss David Yarnton on launch, price and pre-orders

Nintendo looks set for another hugely impressive launch this year, with its innovative handheld 3DS finally confirmed for March 25 arrival in the UK.

The handheld, which had both European and North American journos impressed last week at simultaneous showcase events, is set to cost gamers between £200 and £230, which Nintendo says is definitely "value for money".

In his seven years as Nintendo UK GM, David Yarnton has seen Nintendo rise to become the most successful platform holder in the industry. In that time, marketing manager James Honeywell has made it impossible not to notice the Nintendo DS - now the biggest-selling games console of all time. Both are very excited - and confident - about what the 3DS can achieve.

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The pair kindly sat down to speak to CVG last week. In our chat the pair covered launch details, the importance of pre-orders, piracy and more...

A big impression we took from your Amsterdam 3DS press conference was the focus you're putting on third-party games. How important are titles like Street Fighter and PES for your 3DS launch?

Yarnton: If we look at it it's probably the broadest and biggest support we've had for any of our hardware launches. I think part of that is about what 3DS could bring to the market as far as opportunities for developers to do things that they did think were possible with their games going back.

For them to bring some of these iconic titles to market for 3DS at launch just shows how strong they see 3DS being. For us, we think it is important because it gives that offering... someone might be a Street Fighter fan, while someone else is a Resident Evil fan. We've got a plethora of support.

Honeywell: We've been really careful to make sure we've got a really wide range of titles. As David said, whether you're a Street Fighter fan or you like Nintendo classic titles like Pilotwings, or even for the more casual audiences who like things like Nintendogs... hopefully it's our strongest thing and everybody can find something that they really like.

Perhaps that hasn't always been true of launches and I think we're quite lucky in this launch that we've got such a wide range.

Yarnton: You mentioned Nintendogs... I remember going back a few years, I saw Nintendogs in Japan and came back and told the guys in the office about it, and they all poo-pooed on it. Then later on we got samples and all these big macho hardcore gamers I could hear in the office going, "here boy..."

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I think Nintendogs will be a must for everyone. There's a soft side to everyone.

Honeywell: And puppies tend to bring that out. Noone finds puppies not cute. I think also the new technology we have now like facial recognition, being able to AR style project the Nintendog onto a table - those kinds of things will take it to a completely new level and I think people will find it really different to interact with them. It really is like a virtual dog that you have.

Yarnton: People who are early adopters - I think they'll be lots of titles. They'll want all the fighting games and then still buy Pro Evo and Nintendogs.

There's been some confusion about which first-party Nintendo games will be available in Europe on launch day. Have you nailed down which titles you'll have on day one?

Yarnton: We've still got to nail down the exact titles, because one of the big things when we look at a global launch - all of the markets in the space of four weeks - I think we have to do a fantastic job with hardware production and on top of that software, trying to get a whole range of titles ready for launch.

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