Nintendo UK launched its ambitious £10 million giveaway today, promising to give buyers of the GBA SP or GameCube a money-off voucher book worth up to £250. The vouchers give £10 off Soulcalibur II, 1080° Avalanche, F-Zero GX, Eternal Darkness and Mario Party 5 on the Cube side, and Golden Sun 2: The Lost Age, Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising and Metroid Fusion from the GBA line-up.
Meanwhile a fiver can be deducted from the price of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3, and Dragon Ball as well as £20 off one piece of hardware when you buy the other, meaning a Cube and GBA can now be yours for around £140 total.
Other offers include £10 off the entry price of two full paying entrants at Alton Towers and Thorpe Park (or £5 off the entry price of one full paying entrant over the age of 11), as well as £100 off Camp Beaumont Kids Holidays. Anyone who has stayed at a Pontins or Butlins will be, ahem, thrilled at the idea.
But the vouchers don't come as part of the pack. Nintendo said: "To claim your savings, you need to send your proof of purchase for both the hardware and software, along with the completed voucher, to the Nintendo Service Centre. Theme park and holiday vouchers will be redeemed directly by the handler."
"Hardware and software can be purchased up to the 30th June 2004 and all vouchers can be redeemed up to the 31st July 2004," it adds, but the T&Cs state, oddly: "Qualifying Nintendo GameCube or Game Boy Advance SP purchases must be made between 2 April and 25 April 2004."
Of course, the real Nintendo-philes have already long bought their Cubes and GBAs and what this really amounts to is Nintendo desperately attempting to kick start demand. GBA wise, things continue to sell well on the hardware side, but software sales have been in the doldrums for ages, with very few titles selling in decent numbers, largely thanks to the lack of a budget range. Persistent demands for cheaper GBA software prices continue to fall on deaf ears as the "we know best" mentality persists, with discounting only the result of warehouse clearance as opposed to anything strategic.
Hardware sales of the Cube, however, lags behind the PS2 at a ratio of about nine or ten to one, while software sales have hit a dramatic lull, with Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles making up 50 per cent of the sales of all full priced Cube software, yet selling only a quarter of what FFX-2 achieved in its first week - admittedly with a much smaller installed base.
While the offer is certainly welcome, most retailers are already offering the games Nintendo lists at a reduced price anyway, or will offer bundles that save the consumer more than these tricky-to-redeem vouchers do.