Steve Jobs Helped Save Nintendo
The big N owes Apple's co-founder a debt of gratitude.
Apple's former CEO and visionary, Steve Jobs, leaves behind an unmatched legacy that forever changed the world. His numerous achievements, including the iPod, iPhone and iPad not only catapulted the company into superstardom, but also influenced numerous hardware and software manufacturers, including Motorola and Samsung.
Jobs' artistic genius may have even rescued Nintendo, albeit indirectly.
After re-energizing the video game industry with the visually appealing NES and SNES, the big N went through a hardware slump. That's the only way to describe the GameCube, or as critics dubbed the machine, the purple lunchbox.
The same can be said of the original DS, a bulky machine known as the DS Fat, a device so unattractive that Nintendo had no other choice but to redesign the system entirely.
The result was the DS Lite (2006), and later, the Wii (2006). The former was Nintendo's way of making DS more appealing to fashion conscious gamers, while the latter formed the company's Blue Ocean Strategy, a means of disrupting the market and a gamble that ultimately paid off.
That said, it's clear where Nintendo drew inspiration for both designs. The sexy curves, glossy finish and minimalist approach were clearly taken from Apple's line of products, most notably the original iPod (2001). In fact, Nintendo's DS Lite and Wii debuted in the same shade of white.
Even the concept of "disrupting the market" (Nintendo's own words) goes back to Jobs' desire to dramatically alter the way consumers experienced music with the iPod. His dream was to make it easier and more accessible, just as Nintendo hoped to make gaming more appealing to non-players; the numerous Wii bowling leagues in retirement homes is a testament to that.
Of course, visual aesthetics and philosophies played a partial role in Nintendo becoming the market leader. Outstanding games were also responsible.
At the same time, it's hard to imagine what direction Mario and Co. would have gone had Steve Jobs not introduced the tech world to his brilliant ideas. For all we know, Nintendo would've still been in third place behind Sony and Microsoft, or left the hardware business entirely to become a third party publisher.
With this in mind, and with heavy hearts, we fondly remember Steve the man and the icon, whose creations not only helped shape the music, personal computing and movie businesses, but also gaming.