Don't Listen to the Customer!

may 8, 2006

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! While Sony and Microsoft are upping the processing powers on their new consoles to satisfy hardcore gamers, Nintendo is going a different direction: They aren't listening to hardcore gamers at all. And that is a brilliant idea! Hardcore gamers are vocal -- think blogs -- and they want more of the same: Better graphics and better sound.  And first-person shooters rule. So what is Nintendo doing with their Wii? Not listening to the hardcore gamers. Instead of designing a console for a niche market, Nintendo is designing a console for what non-gamers want: Fun and creative gameplay. That means that the Wii may not be as powerful as the Xbox 360 or the PS3 and it does not do HDTV. But, what it has going for it is a controller that is non-gamer friendly and some very creative games. And this may just pay off. Look at the competition between Nintendo and Sony in the handheld arena. Sony came out with a handheld for hardcore gamers: Powerful, sleek, and ready to play hardcore games. Nintendo? They came out with the DS: Less powerful, but has a creative input style, and lots of creative games. The DS is holding its own against the PSP -- and may even be doing a lot better. Why? I think it is because Nintendo did not go after that fixed market of hardcore gamers that is not growing. They are going after women and older adults who do not want to play an FPS. And that market is highly untapped. Nintendo is taking a huge risk by not going after an established gamer's market, but it looks like it may payoff! The buzz at this year's E3 is about the Wii. Xbox 360 is yesterday's news. Sony has and is being too ambiguous about the PS3 for anyone to be excited about the console. Wii has the attention of both gamers and non-gamers. Its innovative controller and potential for some very exciting games is what is getting everyone excited. I am thinking Nintendo has a good chance of losing the underdog title for consoles -- not because they will win over the hardcore gamer crowd (who will undoubtedly continue to play on the Xbox 360 and PS3), but because they will win over the non-gamer crowd. The potential is huge for Nintendo. I am hoping they score big. I am looking forward to getting a Wii.