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Nintendo Wii and DS to launch in India on September 30
Sameer Desai

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September 16, 2008

The worldwide gaming phenomenon -- the Nintendo Wii -- is finally set to release in India on September 30, along with Nintendo's DS Lite handheld. The consoles will be brought to India by Samurai India, who first introduced Nintendo video games in Indian in 1987.

While the Wii will be priced at Rs 19,990 and will be bundled with Wii Sports, the DS handheld will carry a Rs 7,990 price tag. Samurai has also tied up with HCL [Get Quote] to give the Wii and DS a greater retail presence in Mumbai and Delhi [Images]. Samurai will also be responsible from bringing in licensed accessories and games, and other publishers and distributors too have shown an interest in bringing Wii and DS games to India.

The Wii burst onto the scene in 2006 as it flew off the shelves at launch, leaving its competitors -- Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 [Images] � cold in its wake. To this day, the Wii remains in short supply worldwide due to unprecedented demand thanks to its innovative motion-sensing technology, relatively low price, and casual approach to gaming.

While Sony and Microsoft concentrated on processing power and high-definition graphics, Nintendo -- the home of classic game franchises such as Mario Bros. -- took a different route. The Wii employs motion-sensitive controllers which require the player to move the controller to play games rather than simply pushing buttons. For instance, in a tennis game, the player would be required to swing his / her arm mimic the motion of a tennis player to strike the ball.

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These new motion controls are best showcased in Wii Sports -- a collection of sports games such as tennis, golf, boxing and bowling, all of which employ simple yet engaging motion-controlled gameplay. Wii Sports is bundled free with every Wii console.

The Wii also trumps the opposition in terms of price, although the better price comes at the cost of technical features. The Wii's graphical capabilities pale in comparison to its competitors, and while the PS3 (Rs 24,990) and Xbox 360 (Rs 19,990 for the Core console) double up as entertainment devices, there's not much the Wii can do besides playing games.

But Nintendo's strategy has certainly paid off. The innovative Wii has created a new, seriously large gaming demographic of casual gamers. No longer seen as the domain of teenaged boys, the Wii has brought people of all ages into gaming, and made gaming more accessible to women than ever.

Samurai hopes that the Wii will evoke a similar response in India. "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," says Mahesh Toshniwal of Samurai Games India Pvt Ltd.

Photograph: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

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