why is the wii so shocking?

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.

8 thoughts on “why is the wii so shocking?

  1. Cool. The Nintendo Wii is truly an entrepreneurial masterpiece, not to mention a fully engaging video game system. I totally agree with you Surya.

  2. Speaking as someone who owns and has firsthand experience with the innovative qualities of the Wii, I can say that your analysis of it is dead-on. Graphically, the Nintendo Wii can't compete with the PS3 and XBOX 360, but it does deliver fresh gameplay and intuitive controls that could map the way towards amazing games in the future. On the whole, I recommend buying this system, but you might as well wait until a good game comes out that uses the Wii to its fullest potentail. But if you get one now, Twilight Princess is a good choice.

    P.S. Good luck on The Apprentice! We're all rooting for you. 😉

  3. What I'm wondering is when are they planning to add an ankle bracelet type device that will monitor your foot movement. That way they could begin progamming games that allowed you to run, kick, jump and anything else we can think of.

  4. ShananR– thanks for the coment. I haven't bought a game system since the Sega Genesis– but I might get the Wii. It just seems like good leisure versus obsessive gaming!

    AFett– great idea! I hope Nintendo is reading…

  5. while i think the wii is a very innovative product and has an apple like cool factor, i would still not buy one. i think most people are starting to realize that the gaming machine is more than just for games, it is a hub for all home entertainment. I think the xbox and xbox 360 provides users with a compelling value propostion: buy this system and you not only have a top of the notch gaming machine, but also a home media center which can drive movies, music, pics, etc to your screens.

    i think people who get back some extra change from uncle sam will go buy the wii as a secondary gaming unit, but most gamers and consumers who can afford only one system will go with the xbox or the playstation.

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