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DSi LL Draws Early Morning Launch Day Lines

Shops set up storefront registers, clerks with blow horns, and comparison systems.

A Bic Camera clerk pushes DSi LL in Shibuya.

DSi LL launched today with the festivities one expects of a portable hardware launch from Nintendo nowadays: long lines, prominent placement in storefronts, and clerks on blow horns luring customers in for a purchase. Nintendo staged no official events for DSi LL, but the crowds did come out on a clear Saturday morning.

Based off a launch report at Famitsu.com, lines of between 50 and 60 formed at the large Yodobashi Camera Multimedia chain in Akihabara by 9:00 in the morning. The first person in line had arrived at 23:00 the night before. He was alone until the morning, when the second person arrived on the first train. The line continued to grow past opening and reached at least 100.

The site reported some anecdotal sales trends at this shop. Most buyers, at a rate of ten to one, appeared to be picking up the system on its own. Dark Brown appeared to be the most popular of the colors.

The large Bic Camera in Ikebukuro had about 20 people by 9:00, rising to 60 just ahead of the 10:00 opening. Here, the first person arrived at 6:00.

Famitsu quizzed some buyers at the Bic location. Nearly everyone was trading up from either an original DS or DS Lite. The biggest reason for buying the LL for most players was the big screen. One person decided on the spot to make a purchase after seeing just how big the screen actually is. Most also responded that they were planning on using the system in the home.

The Bic game floor manager shared some comments with the site. Here, Wine Red was the best selling color of the three. It was popular amongst buyers regardless of gender.

The shop manager also said that there was plenty of stock and no need to worry about sellouts.

Nintendo sent out sample DSi LL units to retailers a couple of days before launch.
The DSi LL's box is more than twice the size of the DSi's box.

In addition to the Famitsu.com story, Impress Watch sent out its reporters to cover the Akihabara launch. The site also posted a hardware impressions article containing comparison pics of the DSi and DSi LL.

DSi LL was given the storefront register treatment. This Shibuya Bic Camera outlet is also promoting Final Fantasy XIII.

I personally managed to look around Shibuya in the afternoon and saw the system getting the usual push retailers give to new game systems, with special storefront registers and clerks holding (and sometimes wearing) promotional signs while luring customers in through blow horns.

One common sales tactic, alluded to in the Famitsu.com report, was to place the DSi LL and the standard DSi on display next to one-another, allowing passersby to see the size difference.

New Super Mario Bros., up for comparison.

DSi LL was the second portable launch this month, following Sony's November 1 launch of PSP go. The Sony system failed to take off right out of the gate, selling less than the older PSP-3000 hardware in its first week, and recently dropping to DS Lite and Xbox 360 levels.

We'll get an indication of Nintendo's success with the DSi LL early next week when first sales reports come in. Based off a few comments shared with Mainichi.jp, retailers are expecting this to be another big holiday item from Nintendo.

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