Nintendo opens online channel

Candice Jones
By Candice Jones, ITWeb online telecoms editor
Johannesburg, 10 Nov 2008

Official South African distributor for Nintendo, the Core Group, has opened an online store to promote the sale of its niche games that retailers will not stock.

The site will also stock back titles for local gamers, which have passed through retailers, but are no longer available.

“It is not easy to keep up with the latest release of video games at the best of times, and at the pace that Nintendo is releasing Wii and DS Lite titles to the market, customers might just find that they have missed out on some of the best,” says Core Group executive director RJ van Spaandonk.

The company is also asking gamers to send requests for the games they would like to see available to “We will carry the games that the retailers carry, and the back titles - we would like to hear from our gamers what they would like before Christmas,” he adds.

The company says, traditionally, gamers would order back titles and niche games from international online sites such as “Gamers were paying heavy import duties and waiting weeks to get their games. We have a bulk import system, so we pay less on import. We will also hold the stock in SA, whereas international sites like Amazon would have to order per customer.”

Looking good

Nintendo Wii launched in SA just over a year ago and, according to figures provided by the Core Group, the company is expected to be the top third-generation console sold locally by Christmas.

According to Van Spaandonk, the company has sold 58 000 units since October last year. Sales have grown by 41% since the same period. The figures the company presented at its birthday last week showed that it holds 36% of the market share, compared to PlayStation 3 (PS3) with 14% and Xbox 360 at 22%.

“Something is fundamentally changing in the market,” says Van Spaandonk. He predicts that, by this time next year, the number of casual gamers will have outstripped the number of hardcore gamers in the market. The casual gamer has been the traditional market for Wii; it has also become a companion console for those who own PS3 or Xbox.

Van Spaandonk says the Wii has also changed the profile of gamers. His figures show that 46% of Wii gamers are women and 45% are older than 25 (the traditional target for hardcore gaming).

The company also launched its newest title for the Christmas period, Wii Music, last week.

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