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3DS launches in the UK - pics, details from HMV event

Nintendo has released 3DS in the UK, packing HMV on London's Oxford Street for the console's major EU launch. Lauren Wainwright sent back pictures, interviews and details on the release of Nintendo's biggest hardware yet.

Lauren Wainwright attended Nintendo's main European 3DS launch at HMV on Oxford Street for VG247.

First in line was a free-running student named Marwan Elgamal - here's his Twitter. He's the chuffed-looking chappie waving an elegant hand towards the 3DS banner in the gallery below.

"I've been here since one in the morning," he confessed.

"I just love Nintendo. I played the 3DS and it's just amazing, the innovation in it. Nintendo [is] always pushing the technology forward and it just made that gaming experience that much better. I just really want it."

Inside, Lauren caught up with Nintendo UK's Robert Saunders to ask how the launch was progressing.

"So far so good, all the signs are positive," the UK arm's head of communications told VG247 at tonight's launch.

"Reactions have been phenomenal. I think it's safe to say it's been far above and beyond what we expected. We always knew it would be well received and go well but I think we've been blown away with literally just how well it's gone.

"It's our highest pre-ordered product ever in the UK, which in an era where people are predicting the death of video game consoles because of smart phones and tablets, it shows there is a demand there for the kind of in-depth, immersive, incredible experiences you only get on Nintendo consoles," he concluded, adding that Nintendo is "confident" it can meet consumer demand for the device.

Asked whether the launch of iPad 2 on top of 3DS was a threat, Saunders was dismissive.

"You want glasses free 3D. You want Mario. You want Zelda. You can only get that on 3DS," he said.

But he's not yet ready to call the console a bestseller, phenomenal launch numbers aside.

"It's hard to say [whether 3DS will outsell other consoles] because the UK loves its new gadgets, and it loves a launch. Traditionally, over the last four or five years, every launch has broken records.

"The real test of whether something's gonna work or not is 12, 18, 24 months done the line. .. It's comparatively easy to sell a million consoles. It's your second, third fourth and fit and tenth million where the real challenge is."

The first 500 punters in HMV's queue received a free game with their 3DS, and Street Fighter designer Yoshinori Ono was on scene to celebrate.

"It's comparatively easy to sell a million consoles"

Nintendo said earlier today that it expects 3DS to sell around 200,000 units in the UK alone this weekend, based on a now-confirmed 140,000 pre-orders.

Expect more on the UK launch from tomorrow morning. Keza MacDonald attended the main launch party in London for VG247, while Johnny Cullen will bring an un-boxing video as well as pictures from a local midnight launch.

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