Nintendo DS – Big US Ad Campaign Due

Its efforts to spread the word about the innovative, touch- and dual-screened Nintendo DS may reach Biblical proportions, and will certainly be the largest launch program ever for a Nintendo product, as well as the first outside of Japan.

Pre-launch television ads for the Nintendo DS started on Oct. 25. And in fairness, a new level of sophistication incorporating voice recognition, wireless features allowing multi-user play using one DS game card, and the PictoChat chat function catering for up to 16 simultaneous users, has been brought to the handheld game console market.

A series of three provocative ads presents a static-filled screen with a female voice-over inviting viewers to interact with two blue boxes on the screen, while MTV have produced a custom ad featuring the stars of Wildboyz using the Nintendo DS wireless features.  In December, Nintendo will run ads on more than 5,000 movie screens, and to add the icing to the cake, Nintendo DS is being featured on the multi-city Nintendo Fusion Tour.

While Nintendo DS goes on sale in the US on 21 November and in Japan on December 2nd, Europe must wait until early 2005. It will sell at $149.99 (~£84, ~€122) and comes bundled with a playable demo of Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt.

Before the end of the year, Nintendo DS users will be able to enjoy the following eclectic mix.  Super Mario 64 DS, Madden NFL 2005, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 2005, The Urbz: Sims in the City, Spider-Man 2, Ping Pals, Feel the Magic XY/XX, Rayman DS, Asphalt Urban GT, Ridge Racer DS, and Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits. In addition to this more than 120 games remain in development for Nintendo DS around the world. New games will come from 100 different companies, while Nintendo itself is developing 20 titles.

Ben Hur won the chariot race and Spartacus ended up being crucified – how will Nintendo DS and Sony PSP fare in battle?