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Nintendo DS to retail for £129.99?

UK trade press points to higher than expected price point and 40-50 titles within weeks of launch.

A report this morning in a UK magazine has speculated that Nintendo plans to launch the DS handheld in late March 2005 in Europe, with a UK price point of UKP 129.99 (186 Euro), significantly higher than the equivalent US dollar pricing.

Citing unnamed sources "close to the Japanese games giant," retail magazine MCV claimed that the system's launch would be accompanied by 20 to 25 games on its arrival, with 40 to 50 available "within weeks" of the launch.

Nintendo UK could not be reached for a comment at the time of publication, but several retailers contacted by gi.biz confirmed that no pricing information has been conveyed to them as yet, although the late March launch window is indeed likely, and would tie in with Nintendo's previous use of this time of year for the launch of the Game Boy Advance SP.

If Nintendo really does opt for a UKP 129.99 price point, as MCV speculates, the console giant is likely to come under fire for overpricing in Europe - where that UK pound price point would translate as around 185 Euro, compared with the $149.99 price point in the United States.

By comparison, Nintendo sells the GameCube for $99 in the USA and 99 Euro in Europe, having brought the price points in line with a series of price cuts in September. The GBA SP, however, remains more expensive in this territory (99 Euro) than it is in the United States ($79).

The Nintendo DS is set to launch in the United States later this month, and will be accompanied by six software titles at launch with a further six expected by Christmas. Although several more games are expected to appear in the US early in the New Year, speculation of 40 to 50 titles being available in Europe next Spring seems massively optimistic.

Sony's challenge in the handheld market, the PlayStation Portable, is also widely expected to ship in Europe next March, in a move which promises the first major face-off in this market sector in over a decade - and the first ever genuinely serious challenge to the Game Boy Advance's dominance of the market.

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