Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Nintendo successfully applied design thinking for the Wii

      Nintendo was successful at applying design thinking during the development of the Wii which contributed to the video game industry, both financially and demographically. 

During the Wii's lifespan, Nintendo was able to win the seventh generation game consoles war by outselling both Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3), and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 by an abundance amount in United States of America, Europe, and Japan. Their branding strategy definitely paid off for them. Prior to it's release, the video game industry’s core demographic were hardcore gamers, predominantly young males. This was a major problem within video game industry. The game industry was in need of change, and Nintendo helped introduce hardcore gamers, and the new, causal gamers to exciting simple way to play video games.
The development process for the Wii took five years. In order for Nintendo to marketed their new console, and attracted potential consumers, especially consumers who never picked up a gaming controller before, Nintendo had to re-brand themselves, reflect back on how the company became a huge gaming pioneer, and learn from the mistakes they made along the way. In 1985, Nintendo released their first console, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The NES was notably impressive because, of its technically advancements compared to Atari’s earlier consoles. Consumers found the NES worth buying because, it was bundled with, what is now considered one of the bestselling video game franchises, Super Mario Bros. The NES sold more than sixty million units worldwide. Most importantly, these sales helped revive the video game industry after the North America video game crash in 1983.
In 1990, Nintendo released their follow up console, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), which didn’t focused much on graphics, but more on game play instead. This console sold almost fifty million units worldwide. Eventually, new competition entered the video game market, and as a result, sales started to decline for Nintendo’s next two consoles. 
In North America, Nintendo's third console, the Nintendo 64 (N64) was released in 1996, and their forth console, the GameCube was released in 2001. The N64 was able to sale nearly thirty-three million units thanks to the console’s controller, which was the first controller ever to include an analog stick. Additionally, this console attracted consumers because it contains a 64 bit graphic processing unit (GPU), and popular video game titles such as: Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario 64. However, Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation, Sony, dominated the market by selling over 100 million units worldwide with their first console, the Playstation (PS).
Not only did the N64 competed against the PS which was released in December 1994 during the fifth generation video game consoles war, but it also competed against the Sega Saturn which was released in May 1995 as well. The N64 stored video games on cartridges, while both the PS and the Sega Saturn used compact discs. The PS was more of an entertainment console than the two. It allows users to play both video games, and audio CDs as well. Interestingly, Sony created the PS after their partnership with Nintendo ended. Before the PS was created, initially, Sony tried to create an add-on accessory for the SNES which never happened.
Nintendo eventually created a plan of action that benefited them both financially, and demographically. After the release of the GameCube, Nintendo immediately started working on their next console, which is known now as the Wii. Who was their target audience, initially? Nintendo wanted to create a console that would appeal to everyone. They wanted to focus on a new audience, and was able to accomplish this by developing a console that was affordable, smaller, easy to pronounce, and simple to play. “With Wii, pronounced “we”, [Nintendo] said it intends to break down the wall that separates video game players from everybody else. Wii will put people in touch with their games...and each other” (LeClaire, 2006). 
The word “Wii” is a simple word that anyone, no matter where the person is from, or language that individual speak, can easily remember, and pronounce it. The Wii immediately stood out from the competition because, it was an affordable user-friendly console that offer a new approach to playing video games, and welcomed a new crowd of gamers. With more consumers owning a Wii console, it was no surprise that this console received third party support from top video game publishers. For this reason, there was a bigger potential to gain more profits for selling games on the Wii than on the other consoles, simply because more people own a Wii.
When the PS3 was launched in North America, it cost $599, while Microsoft released two models for their Xbox 360, one model cost, $299, and the other cost, $399. At launch day, in North American on November 19, 2005, Nintendo released the Wii for the price of $250. The Wii quickly gained an edge because, it cost less than half of the PS3, and most importantly, it's unique motion controller, the Wiimote. The Wiimote is the primary controller for the Wii, and introduced a new way of gaming because it's motion sensing capability. The Wiimote is able detect the user's motion, and rotation through accelerometer, and optical sensor technology. Along with that, users could enhance their gaming experience by attaching the Nunchuk, Classic Controller, Wii Zapper, and the Wii Wheel to the Wiimote. 
Nintendo’s Wii console continued to appeal to people from all ages, and backgrounds. Early in the Wii lifespan, a research team at the University of Toronto developed a video game to treat children who were suffering from hemiplegic cerebral palsy, which is a condition that impairs movement. This research team wanted to improve children’s motor function by keeping the children active outside of therapy. Luckily, with Nintendo's new activity-based console, a undergraduate engineering student at the University of Toronto accomplished this goal. According to an article, Is the Wii Really Good for Your Health? it reveals, “It’s a lot of fun to use, and the movements are the types of things that might be promoted in physical therapy or occupational therapy or occupational therapy, Li says. [And] the kids don’t have to feel different. This is a game they can take home and play with siblings and friends” (Schmidt, 2007).
In September 30, 2015, Nintendo’s Wii sold a total of over 100 million consoles worldwide. The Wii is currently Nintendo bestselling video game console, and overall 5th bestselling all game consoles in video game history. By making a shift to an activity based console, Nintendo was able to create a unique gaming experience for families and friends across the world.