The 3DS is an expensive little gaming device from Nintendo, costing $249 in the U.S. and the rough equivalent of $365 in the U.K. Still, Nintendo U.K. general manger David Yarnton doesn’t think the price will hold the system back from success.

“Indications that we’ve had so far from retail is that they are really happy with the price and demand indicates it will be our biggest launch in terms of hardware,” said Yarnton. “The DS for us was huge in 2005 and in 2006 the Wii was even bigger. Retailers – especially with the environment they are in – are right behind it. It’s a new format. In the last ten years, the innovation that we’ve brought to the market, people may have looked at the price to begin with but it was soon forgotten because of the quality of the product and the content that’s available.”

Without a way to convey the 3D capabilities of the system via traditional advertising, hands-on demos will be even more important, and that’s something Nintendo is prepared for. “We’ve had huge sampling experiences on Wii and DS in the past and we properly started that whole touring the product, we’ve been doing that for years. With 3DS it’s going to be the biggest sampling campaign that we’ve ever done, said Yarnton. “We’re looking at between 4-500,000 consumer samples up to Easter this year. And because we’re doing a combination of not only interactive in stores but also consumer events, and then samples in shopping centers . . . we see the opportunity as so important. How do we explain the 3D We can paint a picture but until you actually experience it you’re not going to see the full value of it. Sampling is huge, it’s a major investment for us.”