Nintendo enters game console wars

NINTENDO’S entry into the game console wars, the Wii, quickly sold out in many New York stores despite stocks that far surpassed those of the rival PlayStation 3, on sale two days earlier.

Spot checks at area stores turned up only one, the Toys R Us in Times Square, with Wiis in stock. The store hosted a midnight launch event that drew a crowd of more than a thousand people for the sale of the very first Wii.

The first buyer, Isaiah Triforce Johnson, had been waiting outside the store for more than a week. He wore a Nintendo Power Glove, a wearable controller that came out in 1989, while shaking hands with Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. Johnson legally changed his name to include a reference to Nintendo’s Zelda games.

The launch apparently went smoothly, a contrast to the PlayStation 3 release, which forced police to disperse rowdy crowds at some stores around the US.

Sony had about 400,000 PlayStation 3s in North American stores on Friday. Nintendo has said it would have “five to 10” times as many Wiis available at launch.

The Wii costs $250, including one game, half of what the PlayStation 3 model costs. The most common PlayStation 3 model costs $600, with no included game.

The Wii takes a different tack than the competition, forgoing the high-definition graphics that Sony has spent billions to develop for the PlayStation 3.

Instead, Nintendo aims to draw gamers with intuitive game play. The Wii comes with a motion-sensitive controller that the gamer waves around in the air, using it as a tennis racket, golf club, steering wheel, gun or sword, depending on the game.

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