Competitors Have Always Copied Nintendo


All this talk about the PlayStation Move is really starting to annoy me. Yes, the controller looks like the WiiMote, but lets stop kidding outselves into thinking that this is the first time that the game industry has moved forward on the shoulders of the existing ideas. Nintendo has been the innovator since they entered the market, and we have them to thank for everything from the D-Pad to the Thumbstick to Wireless Controllers.


THE D-PAD: NES vs Sega Master System

The NES is released is America on October 18, 1985, which had a completely new controller style, introducing the D-Pad and handheld design.  The Sega Master system is then released in America on June 1, 1986 with a very similar design. (Time difference: 8 Months)



The SNES controller, released November 21, 1990, was a piece of pure genius, inctroducing the four button interface on the right side, as well as the concept for shoulder buttons. It wasn’t until December 3, 1994 that another competitor caught on, and Sony used the controller concept in the PlayStation Controller design. (Time difference: Four years)


THUMBSTICK: N64 vs Sony DualShock

The controller for the N64 introduced something else new on June 23, 1996: thumb-sized joysticks. Sony then worked their design, and released the DualShock in May 1998. (Time difference: Two years)


WIRELESS: Wavebird vs X-Box 360 Controller

In 2002, Nintendo released the Wavebird for the Gamecube, removing the need for cords while playing games. The next to implement the idea into their controller was the X-Box 360, which wasn’t released until November 22, 2005. (Time difference: three years)



On November 19, 2006, Nintendo released another innovation that changed the gaming industry forever, and the controller changed with it. The Playstation Move is slated for Q3/Q4 release in 2010. (Time difference: four years)

Are we REALLY all that surprised that Nintendo’s innovations are spreading to the rest of the industry? Its been happening since the NES revolutionized the gaming world 25 years ago. This is not to say that other companies have not had their strengths as well. Microsoft has made huge strides in showing us what the possibilities of online gaming hold, and Sony is constantly pushing the technical limitations of their hardware. Add Nintendo’s flair for innovation and we have the perfect console.

I guess this is where my issue for Nintendo really lies. Other companies are willing to acknowledge a good idea when they see one, and work hard to implement those ideas into their own products. However, Nintendo doesn’t seem willing to do the same. The Wii’s hardware is laughable when compared to the 360 or PS3, and so is their online experience. You can guarantee that Nintendo will be playing catch-up on these areas in their next console (whenever that ends up being). If you’re looking for a quick fix, however, the PlayStation Move will have the innovation of the Wii with the online and hardware capabilities of its competitors. As for me? Move looks pretty  dang awesome.