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Nintendo Wii and DS set to launch to India

Nintendo, who left Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 shitfaced as it raced into the lead in the console race with the Wii, is finally showing India some love. TheANGRYPixel reports that the Wii is launching in India on September 30 and it will be distributed by Samurai-India, in association with HCL. There have been rumblings in the industry of the Wii launching in India some time this month. Rumours of HCL bringing the Wii to India surfaced a few months ago; then there were rumours of Nintendo bringing in the Wii through regional distributors.

So it looks like it’s a combination of the two and we hear that HCL will predominantly handle the Nintendo’s DS handheld, which will also release simultaneously. A price tag of Rs 19,990 may be a little steep for a console like the Wii, but it will also be interesting to see how the Wii, still largely unknown in these parts, is marketed here. The DS, however, seems more reasonably priced for a handheld (Rs 7,990) and will be looking to eat into a serious chunk of the sizeable PSP market in India.

Nintendo's DS and Wii are finally India-bound

We can rest assured that with the impending release of the Wii, software for the console, from third-party publishers at least, will make its way to India, with Milestone Interactive and E-Xpress Games already bringing in Wii titles. How the first-party software distribution will work, however, remains unclear. EA too will release Wii games in India once the console launches officially, says Ajay Khanna, Country Manager, EA India:

The beauty of EA is that we create games for all platforms. So when the Wii does launch in India, you can rest assured that the best EA has to offer for the Wii will be available in India.

A more serious issue, however, is this – what region will the Wii adopt in India? When the rumours first surfaced, we were told it would be an NTSC-U/C console, the same region as in the US and in contradiction to India’s long-held PAL billing. We, too, are getting strong signals from people in the industry, who have been speaking with Nintendo, that in keeping with the company’s Asia and Middle-East strategy, the NTSC-U/C Wii will be launched here. Even distributors, who’ve brought Wii games to India, brought in NTSC versions, although that was probably to meet the demands of the predominantly-NTSC grey market consoles. But if an NTSC Wii is launched in India, and with India being a PAL region, would publishers be willing to supply NTSC games to India for the Wii, when games for all other formats come here in PAL format? Jayant Sharma, Chairman and CEO of Milestone Interactive has his reservations:

I think the biggest problem that we foresee is that if the launch is of NTSC machines, the demand will be for NTSC software. But since we are a PAL market, and all the publishers we deal with are suppliers of PAL games and if they continue to insist on supplying PAL games, then you’re going to have a big miss-match. I see that as the biggest source of confusion for Nintendo, because customers largely don’t understand this and if at launch there’s going to be such confusion, that won’t be good for them.

So, we’ll just have to wait and watch and hopefully all our doubts will be cleared once we have an official announcement. In the meantime, here’s a list of Wii and DS games already in stores in India and the prices for the same.

Wii:
MX vs ATV Untamed – Rs 1,499
SpongeBob’s Atlantis SquarePantis – Rs 1,499
Wall-E – Rs 2,199
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 – Rs 1,499
Alone In The Dark – Rs 2,499

DS:
Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights – Rs 999
Ratatouille: Food Frenzy – Rs 999
SpongeBob’s Atlantis SquarePantis – Rs 999
WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2008 – Rs 999
Wall-E – Rs 1499
Zoo Tycoon – Rs 1499

You can also look forward to Activision’s catalogue of Wii titles, releasing in India soon, as well as THQ’s de Blob.

UPDATE: We were able to get in touch with Samurai India for some additional information on the Wii and DS launch. Click here for that article.

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