How Nintendo Took a Bite out of Sony

Business 2.0 has a nice little plug for the DS in their most recent issue (Dec 2005). The article starts off by saying: “There’s a truism in the video-game industry: Fancy hardware doesn’t sell game machines; it takes great games to sell fancy hardware.”

The DS and PSP comparison couldn’t prove this anymore. The PSP is technically superior, (despite touch and dual screen technology) but hasn’t performed near as good. Kudos to Sony for staying in the game this long, but if they don’t start making some games for that multi-function device, and market it as a gaming handheld, Sony could have a curtain call very soon (GameGear anyone?)

The article attributes the following three items to the DS’s success:

  1. SOCIABLE NETWORKING. Most portable devices (including Sony’s PSP) use Wi-Fi for collaborative gaming among players scattered all over the world. Nintendogs takes a more intimate approach to wireless networking, thanks to a feature called “bark mode” that alerts DS owners when another Nintendogs player is nearby. Players can then introduce themselves to one another while their virtual pets frolic together onscreen.
  2. INTUITIVE INTERFACE Game machine microphones are usually used to holler at fellow players during collaborative combat. Nintendogs uses the microphone as an integral part of the game experience — it’s hard to go even a few minutes without cooing praise or practicing verbal training with your virtual pup. “The ability to speak commands makes the communication very lifelike,” says Nintendo producer Hideki Konno.
  3. A MORE HUMAN TOUCH To pet their dog or give it a bath, DS players rub the touch-sensitive screen. “The emotional connection wouldn’t have been as effective without the touchscreen,” says Konno. The hands-on puppy play has been hailed as the first truly innovative application for a gaming touchscreen. “The DS has a very radical design,” says Envisioneering analyst Doherty. “It’s taken developers a little while to take advantage of that.”

Throw in Nintendo’s insanely easy Wi-Fi connection, and you’ve got the makings for a very dominate portable. How will the next Game Boy top this? It doesn’t, it’s pillar three (different) than the DS and home console Revolution.

[Source: Business 2.0]