Vital launch delay rocks Nintendo

BYLN: By Sharon Marshall

Nintendo has been forced to divert the multi-million pound global budget for its make-or-break

next generation games machine, Ultra-64, into old technology.

Nintendo has transferred worldwide advertising and marketing money intended for the launch of Ultra-64 because of development delays. The machine was expected to launch in the US last week, but Nintendo has pushed it back to spring 1996.

Instead, Nintendo will spend millions on its existing line-up of Gameboy machines and the Killer Instinct, Donkey Kong Country 2 and Donkey Kong Land games. In the UK it will spend about 5m through its agency J Walter Thompson.

The new ads are intended to stave off competition from Sony’s PlayStation, a direct rival to Ultra-64, which will launch in September. Nintendo is hoping the 300 price tag for the Sony machine will hamper sales until the Ultra-64 can launch.

Nintendo’s UK marketing director Mark Edridge played down the shift, saying the UK had not planned to market the Ultra-64 until next year anyway, even though the company is currently recruiting an Ultra-64 marketing team in the UK.

The bulk of the UK budget will go on a 2m campaign for Gameboy and Gameboy Colour. By autumn, TV campaigns are expected to start for its other brands, says Edridge.

He adds that reports that Nintendo is to drop JWT are unfounded.

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