99 Nintendo DS on 11th March

That's 149 to most of you. 15 games at launch, 650,000 units on day one, and so on, with WarioWare amongst the launch titles.

Nintendo DS will launch in Europe on 11th March priced 99.99 or 149, Nintendo has revealed at a press conference in Paris this afternoon, and the platform holder is planning to ship more than 650,000 in the initial run.

The dual screen handheld, which has already racked up millions of sales in North America and Japan, will launch with a total of 15 games from day one - although Sprung will only be released in the UK, Netherlands and Scandinavia.

Those games will cost between 19.99 and 29.99, Nintendo said, and will include flagship title Super Mario 64 DS, WarioWare Touched!, Project Rub, Mr DRILLER: Drill Spirits, Spider-Man 2, Rayman DS, The Urbz, Pokmon Dash, Sprung, Asphalt Urban GT, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, Zoo Keeper, Ping Pals, Robots and Polarium (click the links for reviews, and you can read details of all the others in our DS Games To Watch feature).

The DS hardware package will come bundled with Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt, as it did in the States.

Games demonstrated at the show in playable form include most of the line-up, Yoshi's Touch & Go (Balloon Trip in the US), Nintendogs and others. Mario Kart DS was shown in video form only, with no release date yet announced.

The 99 price point is around the expected mark. In the US the console retailed for $149.99. Interestingly, Australian fans will pay the equivalent of around 90 for theirs, and although exchange rate fluctuations are believed to be behind that slightly more flattering figure, they can hardly be blamed for the unusual sight of Nintendo hardware making it onto store shelves down under before it does so here; Aussie gamers will be able to pick up a DS from 24th February onward.

Any further details of the European launch will follow just as soon as we hear more from Paris.

Beyond today's events, however, the question is now how Sony will now act, having so far failed to elaborate on plans to launch the PlayStation Portable in Europe in or around March. With Nintendo shooting for early in the month, it'll be interesting to see how its newfound competitor responds...

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