Nintendo Wii sold out in minutes

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Nintendo Wii sold out in minutes

Frenzied buying on first day of European sales.

Midnight on Thursday 7 December has been carved into the calendars of European Nintendo fans for some months.

Last night the much-anticipated Nintendo Wii went on sale in Europe. Ardent gamers had camped outside the Oxford Street branch of HMV in London, the only branch to sell consoles that have not been pre-ordered, since Tuesday.

But police were called late on Thursday to disperse the increasingly rowdy mob as shop staff feared that fights would break out when the £179 ($445) console finally went on sale.

The store's stock of 200 consoles sold out in minutes to gamers who left their names and addresses with staff as the police dispersed the crowd.

This left customers who arrived later disappointed. "I didn't get my Wii. I got to HMV just as they were locking up," one gamer, wandering the streets of London in the post-party early hours of Friday morning, told

Nintendo has pitched the Wii at casual players and families as well as hard-core gamers, equipping the console's Wiimote controller with motion-sensing functionality.

The new design is said to be easier than the conventional joy-pad for new players to master, and more immersive for experienced gamers.

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