At the end of the life cycle of last generation's consoles, many critics speculated whether Nintendo could rally back from its less than stellar GameCube console, which lagged considerably behind the processing power of both the Xbox from Microsoft and the PlayStation 2 from Sony. Then in November of 2005 Microsoft kicked off the “next gen” console wars by debuting its Xbox 360, the first console to ever offer the power to play High Definition games. Microsoft enjoyed a full year’s lead on its competition by releasing its next gen console in 2005. Finally in 2006, Sony released its PlayStation 3 which also boasted High Def gameplay, and Nintendo released its Wii console which displayed games in a meager 480p. Nintendo bet the farm on the Wii simply because it utilized a novel control scheme: motion controls. Many critics bet that Nintendo, for yet another hardware cycle, would occupy the 3rd place spot falling prey to its High Def competitors. What happened over the course of the next 2 years shocked the gaming world, not only did the Wii sell, but it outsold both of its competitors nearly every month for 2 solid years. Nintendo, much like Apple, reinvented the way we perceive common things in our lives; they created a paradigm shift. Many people found traditional gaming too intimidating to really enjoy, Nintendo sensed this and created a control scheme that was intuitive for anyone to pick up and play, and many non-gamers found themselves truly enjoying video games for the first time.
Much like in 2007, Nintendo just created another paradigm shift in the entertainment world. On Tuesday, Nintendo announced at their E3 presentation (E3 is the Electronics Entertainment Expo the largest gaming conference in the world) a new handheld console called the 3DS. What is so impressive about this handheld is that not only can people bring games with them on the go, but this is the first handheld console that displays games in 3D...oh and did I mention it does not require any special eye wear of any kind to view the games in 3D? Not only will this system change the gaming world, but will make inroads in the entertainment industry because it now proves that there is technology available today to manufacture 3D viewing experiences that do not require the viewer to wear a pound of plastic on their face for the duration of a 2 to 3 hour movie or throughout their favorite sporting event such as the Super Bowl. While pricing is not yet available it is certainly impressive to marvel at the technical feat that Nintendo has accomplished, and only 3 years after some critics predicted the end of the biggest name in video game entertainment history. It just goes to show you that while many companies choose to compete on price and similar features, the smart companies like Nintendo prefer to innovate their way out of financially depressed times. If the technology leaders of tomorrow are able to take a page from this book, we definitely have a bright future to look forward to.