Video game console sales numbers for November are in. Two years after the Nintendo Wii was introduced — you know, the console that was derided as a gimmick, a fad, just a faster GameCube — the little white console still outsells the Xbox 360 over 2 to 1. It outsells the PS3 over 4 to 1. (“Here’s a 4cr post”:http://www.4colorrebellion.com/archives/2008/12/12/wii-buries-the-competition-in-november/ with official numbers.)
The doubters were so wrong about this one. The fans and industry experts who were quick to sell Nintendo short kept waiting for a fail that never happened. If you go into a Best Buy right now the video game section is completely owned by the Wii and DS.
Not everyone can take a risk and have it pay off so well, but it’s at least important to acknowledge that conventional wisdom and focus groups (what “everyone” knows) would have doomed Nintendo. The trick is being able to tell when you’ve got an idea that is truly special, and not just something you are clinging on to out of a stubbornness to be different.
In related news, I imported a “Nintendo DSi”:http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ds/series/dsi/index.html from Japan last month and it’s a great rev to the portable system. It would be even better if I could read Japanese.
Forget the developer perspective for a minute. Even as a user I find the race-to-the-bottom iPhone price drops completely maddening. I’ve bought apps for $5 and $10, and now many of those prices have either been cut in half or lowered to 99 cents. I felt like I got my money’s worth at the higher price, so I’m not complaining that I was ripped off. Instead, I just feel like a fool.
But I’ve learned my lesson. The message from developers could not be more clear. Apparently the way to buy iPhone software is just to wait a month for the price to drop.
I realized this week that I don’t consider myself an iPhone developer. Technically I’ve paid my $99, but I’ve scrapped all my ideas except a prototype I’m working on for “VitalSource”:http://www.vitalsource.com/, and even that I expect someone else to finish and bring to market. If I was an independent iPhone developer I’d be furious at the instability of pricing on the App Store. Even to users it looks like chaos.
I mentioned on “Core Intuition”:http://www.coreint.org/ episode 11 that I’ve been having fun making small icons for my new app. Here are a few partial screenshots:
Some of these are just pixel-by-pixel drawings, with slight gradients in places. For other parts of the user interface I used vectors in Photoshop, which gives a nice anti-aliased look that is important for some types of shapes, but for really small icons and widgets it’s pretty satisfying to just poke at things “fat bits”:http://www.google.com/search?q=fat+bits+macpaint style.
“Gus Mueller”:http://gusmueller.com/blog/ pointed out that I should be using PDFs or drawing them in code to be ready for resolution independence. He’s right of course. Maybe Apple will announce a device at Macworld that will make that task seem more practical.