Nintendo’s N64 hit by shortage

After several delays, much bemoaning over stock shortfalls and a significant degree of hype, Nintendo’s N64 video gaming console finally launches in the UK market this week. But the relaunch of the Nintendo brand is likely to face problems, despite extra units being made available.

After several delays, much bemoaning over stock shortfalls and a

significant degree of hype, Nintendo’s N64 video gaming console finally

launches in the UK market this week. But the relaunch of the Nintendo

brand is likely to face problems, despite extra units being made

available.



The Japanese company is investing over pounds 6m in its UK marketing

campaign for the console, which will include a heavyweight ad campaign

created by Leo Burnett running from March 1 until the end of May.



Nintendo was once a major force in the industry alongside Sega, but the

duopoly was shaken up when Sony launched its PlayStation console in

1995.



Since then, Nintendo’s position has declined as Sega and Sony were left

to fight it out.



With the N64 it has the opportunity to reaffirm its computer games

credentials and rebuild brand awareness among consumers.



The teaser campaign for N64 has already started, with page ads in the

style magazines using the line ’Believe the hype’. For the campaign

proper this will be replaced by ’Get into it’.



Despite an official UK launch of March 1, the 20,000 consoles designated

for the first wave have all been ordered well in advance.



However, Alex Fitzgibbons, communications manager for Nintendo’s

distributor, THE Games, said increased production at Nintendo’s Japanese

production plant means the UK will now be allocated 130,000 units for

the launch period - 40,000 more than originally expected.



’None of our retailers are happy. We have not had the stock to give them

what they want,’ said Fitzgibbons. But he said the advertising is as

much about planting the seed for later in the year, when stocks should

recover.



The TV campaign will break on February 28 with three 40-second ads each

focusing on one of three games available at launch: Super Mario 64,

Pilot Wings 64 and Star Wars - Shadow of the Empire. The launch of Wave

Race has been delayed until April.



N64 will retail at pounds 249 - pounds 50 more than PlayStation and

Saturn, both of which boast 200 games titles to N64’s three, with prices

starting at around pounds 20 compared with a price of pounds 50 for

Pilot Wings 64.



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