I played the Wii at a friends house on Saturday and loved it. It made me think about why it didn’t come along sooner.
What makes the Wii great?
It’s flat-out fun. It doesn’t have the best graphics in video games. It’s not so immersive that you feel like you’re in another world. It wasn’t about playing others over the Internet. Those are the defining characteristics of the Xbox and Playstation. The Wii’s games are lighthearted and physically immersive. They’re challenging, but not annoying. The experience is light years different than the other systems.
From a technical perspective the Wii doesn’t strike you as crazy sophisticated. In fact, it brought the original Nintendo game, Duck Hunt to mind. Shooting ducks on screen with a physical gun controller was way interactive and engrossing — and that was 15 years ago. The Wii feels like Duck Hunt’s natural offspring.
I look at the Wii as a business triumph because it represents thinking about delivering a product in a way that’s different than simply matching and/or one-upping the competition. Instead of competing based on using the latest, greatest technology or the most complicated games with incredible amounts of internet connectivity—Nintendo asked “how can we make this game more fun and a totally different experience than the other guys?” Fundamentally, the Wii is a triumph because they redefined the category. It’s a testament that not every industry is involved in group-think. There’s a great book on how a business can redefine themselves based on factors that competition is ignoring, it’s “Blue Ocean Strategy” and while a little academic.
2/21/13 – I still think the Wii is wicked cool and Blue Ocean is a good book.