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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 December 2006, 09:52 GMT
Wii console makes Japanese debut
Successful shoppers outside a Tokyo store
Some shops were forced to turn people away
Thousands of Japanese video-game fans queued outside shops as Nintendo's Wii console went on sale.

More than 1,000 people were reported outside some Tokyo stores as eager customers waited for shops to open.

About 400,000 consoles were available, but some customers were said to have left empty-handed as demand outstripped supply.

Nintendo says it had sold more than 600,000 Wii consoles in the US since the launch on 19 November.

The Wii console is the last of the new generation of game-playing gadgets to go on sale in Japan.

Sony launched the PlayStation 3 in Japan on 11 November and Microsoft's Xbox 360 has been on sale in the country for almost 12 months.

'Homage to Nintendo'

Many Japanese gamers were said to have pre-ordered their console to be sure of getting one, but those that had not were forced to queue.

Gamer playing with the Wii console, Getty

At electronics store Bic Camera in Tokyo, more than 3,000 people stood in line, shop spokeswoman Naoko Ito said.

Staff began turning customers away at 0540 local time (2040 GMT) as stocks ran out, she said.

Student Kentaro Watanabe, who queued all night, had come dressed as a remote control.

"I made this (costume) by myself yesterday," he said. "This is a homage to Nintendo."

Although the Wii does not boast the high-definition graphics of the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3, its innovative controller and low price have won it early praise.

Motion sensors allow players to control on-screen characters and perform actions by moving the hand-held controller rather than just by pressing combinations of buttons.

Some early reviewers in the US have complained that the vigorous action demanded by the Wii controller has left them feeling stiff after a long game session.

In Japan the Wii console is priced at 25,000 yen (113). By comparison the complete PlayStation 3 console package costs 60,000 yen (270).

The Wii console goes on sale in Europe on 8 December. Nintendo said it hoped to have sold about four million consoles by the end of 2006.

The Nintendo Wii in action

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