Saturday, October 07, 2006

Nintendo In Malaysia

For a while, Nintendo's presence in Malaysia is generally limited to parallel importers who operate from video game outlets that mainly sell pirated video games.

Today, I paid a visit to the first official Nintendo counter in Malaysia. It operates in the electronics department of one of the anchor tenants of Mid Valley Megamall, Jusco. Albeit small, the official counter comes stocked with quite a decent library of GBA and Nintendo DS games as well as the respective hardware needed to run them. You have the usual suspects which are the GBA, Game Boy Micro and Nintendo DS which is available in both "phat" and Lite versions.

I did not pay much attention on the additional hardware available at the store but from my brief glance, most of the hardware is from Nintendo and I didn't notice any third-party labels. I did spend some time looking at the DS games library and several titles caught my eye namely New Super Mario Bros, Metroid Pinball and Brain Age.

The prices of games sold at the counter range from RM 99 to RM 179 for newer titles. It does seem a bit expensive but since the games sold are brought in via official channels, the increase in price is at best, understandable but not necessarily agreeable to those accustomed to parallel import prices.

Even so, the impression given by the sales girl seems to indicate that business is good. The counter is only five days old and it is sold out on one of the Nintendogs title. Having shown her my Nintendo DS, she became a persistent sales person asking me to purchase a new NDS Lite as an upgrade.

At present, the counter has a launch promotion for the NDS. RM 719 buys you a NDS console, one free NDS game and a NDS screen protector. The free game applies only to any game selling for RM 99 at the counter.

Also available at the counter is a console stand with 3 NDS Lites for you to try out games with; they were loaded with Big Brain Academy, Nintendogs and New Super Mario Bros when I went there today.

The jury is still out on the Nintendo counter. On one hand, the price of games is higher but on the other hand, the perks available for "going official" such as official console warranty and support provides a compelling reason to purchase stuff at the counter. Even so, it is heartening to know that Jusco has decided to come up with the Nintendo counter and hopefully as time goes by, prices will go down.

In the mean time, I think I need to fight off the temptation to purchase Metroid Pinball, at least not within this month.