As the Nintendo Wii begins to quietly make its way into stores across India with ninja-like stealth in readiness for its September 30 launch date along with the DS Lite, we caught up with Mahesh Toshniwal of Samurai Games India Pvt Ltd, official distributors of the Wii and DS in India, to confirm to us the news that surfaced recently and to give us answers to some questions that many of you may have had on your minds.
Firstly, can you tell us a bit about Samurai India; its history and current operations?
Samurai introduced 8-bit Nintendo video games in India in 1987 and was instrumental in bringing Nintendo Home Video Games to India. Samurai is an authorised reseller of Active Boeki K. K. of Kobe, Japan, who is the distributor for Nintendo in South-East Asia, the Middle East and India. Incidentally, Active Boeki’s chief is an Indian from Ajmer – Mr Suresh K. Lal.
What is the release date for the Wii and DS in India?
Release date for Wii and DS Lite is 30th September, 2008.
How much will the Wii and DS be priced at?
The MRP for the Wii is Rs 19,990 and the DS Lite is priced at Rs 7,990 inclusive of all taxes.
Will the Wii come bundled with Wii Sports?
Yes, the Wii will come bundled with Wii Sports and with an original 220 Volts Nintendo AC adapter.
Will you also bring Wii and DS first-party titles to India and what will be the price range for Wii and DS games?
Yes, we will bring first-party as well as licensee software to India and prices will depend on the individual titles.
What is the role of HCL in bringing the Wii and DS to India?
We have tied up with HCL to sell the Wii and DS through 20 stores across Mumbai and Delhi. Based on the success of the operation, these arrangements may change over time.
Will the Wii in India be PAL or NTSC-U/C?
The Wii will be NTSC.
Besides Nintendo, which publishers’ games will you distribute?
We have already tied up with a few publishers and negotiations with others are underway.*
Hit the jump for the rest of the interview
The NTSC-U/C Wii is available for Rs 16,000 in the grey market. What is the advantage of buying a genuine Wii for Rs 20,000 supplied by your company?
The Wii available in the grey market is without bill and warranty and comes with a duplicate 220 Volts adapter. The grey market Wii brought in from America has a 110 Volts adapter, which is replaced with China-made 220 Volts adapter and passed off as original. Entry to the Fun Club and Loyalty programme will also be restricted to buyers with bill.
Since there isn’t any marketing campaign undertaken yet, how do you aim to inform the consumers about the Wii and its potential?
We have 20 years of experience in marketing video games and we feel that hands-on experience is the best way to spread gaming fever. The Nintendo Wii has been developed for a casual gamer and we will promote it as a family game. The Wii will provide a platform for parents and children to interact with each other everyday, which is something that has become a very rare sight these days.
How do you aim to curb Wii and DS piracy as well as fake Wii accessories?
Pirated software and accessories are a pain and we hope to educate people to fight piracy as, apart from being illegal, these products are of poor quality, some of these games are incomplete, and you get no after-sales service or upgrades.
Will first party accessories for the Wii and DS be sold here?
Yes, in time, we will go for first party as well as licensed accessories.
*There is an indication that Samurai will distribute EA games in India for Nintendo platforms, although we have no official confirmation of this.