Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
23 March 2006
Nintendo: Vision and Sony-style
With the recent announcements of the Nintendo DS Lite and these GDC pictures of the stunningly tiny and beautiful Revolution (perhaps renamed today), I'm reminded of this 2003 article on SPOnG right after the GameBoy Advance SP announcement. Specifically, Nintendo is leaving behind the traditional game system look and co-opting what was previously seen as Sony's slick style.

See for yourself:
This being said, the GameCube is likely to be the last Nintendo machine that looks like it was co-designed by Fisher Price.
Over three years later, having seen the Nintendo DS, DS Lite, and Revolution, the accuracy of the above statement is downright scary. And that's not the only part:
Now, back to the SP resembling a camera, or a Mini Disc player. The machine looks like Sony made it. A lot. If it weren't for the Nintendo logo on the front, you would guess that SP stood for Sony Player.

Talking to a high-level Nintendo executive today, the reason for this is simple. The SP represents a pre-emptive strike against the Sony portable games device that is in the works at the PlayStation creator's head office.
In retrospect, this means the Nintendo DS was designed, from the beginning, to compete with the PSP, not just in games but in style. Nintendo has always had the game-creation angle down, but they knew in 2002 that they needed a new image. They were going to have to appeal to a wider audience, including many adults, and that audience wouldn't want a Fisher-Price toy in the briefcase. Likewise, they won't want a purple GameCube on the entertainment center. One last quote:
Gosen told us that the SP is aimed at an older audience, perhaps those who haven't played portable games ever, or for years. The aesthetic of the machine screams tech-chic. It's the GBA that won't put girls off talking to you. It's the GBA that you can play on the train and still feel like a grown up. It is new Nintendo.
The same could be said about the DS and certainly looks to be the aim with the Revolution. That is "It's the console you can play in your living room and still feel like a grown up."

Perhaps Nintendo really has their ducks in a row.
  • Easy to develop for, because it's essentially a GameCube with modest upgrades
  • Installed software base, since it plays GameCube games
  • Networked to download other games
  • Unique controller that is simple enough for Mom to use
Add to this the final piece:
  • Style that appeals to adults
With all these in place, especially the last one, Nintendo moves from videogame company to entertainment company. It's a small distinction, granted, but it might just be what Nintendo needs.


--Matt Matthews at 09:43
Comment [ 4 ]

Comments on this post:

I don't really see it with the DS, which is very much like their old game and watch machines.

Also, I am of the opinion that they have co-opted Apple style, not Sony style for their Revolution and DSLite. Right down to the white enamel finishes.

I'm actually looking forward to getting a DSLite, and giving the DS to my little brother so we can play with each other.

By Anonymous Adrian, at 23 March, 2006 15:39  

I was going to post an opinion but Adrian got everything right. Holler.


By Blogger Michael, at 23 March, 2006 19:46  

I should have added the GBA Micro to the tech gadget list. I think it falls into the same category, while also crossing over to pick up the crazy people who actually buy difference face plates for their phones (and Xbox 360s).

By Blogger jvm, at 23 March, 2006 19:50  

The SP and Micro look great, the DS Lite still looks a little kiddish, but the original DS looked like a toy pretending not to be a toy, especially the colored versions.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 March, 2006 23:42  

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