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May 24th, 2021 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

Nintendo Wii, Flatscreen Displays and the Future of…

Do you remember the Nintendo Wii? The goofy, weird, underpowered console which took the world by storm? Whilst Microsoft and Sony beat each other up over the computational and graphics prowess of their respective consoles, Nintendo imagined a whole new way of playing video games, which broadened the Wii’s audience significantly beyond the traditional core gaming demographic.

When you look past the headlines, what is truly remarkable is the insight which led to the development of the Wii (source: Ask Iwata):

As early game consoles gained popularity (the original Nintendo and Sega systems), family members began to want their own personal televisions — you can spot a correlation of TVs in a household and the sales of video game consoles. Usually, this meant one bigger TV in the living room and small TVs in the bedrooms.

With the emergence of new technologies making flatscreen TVs possible and affordable, it became common again for families to have one large TV in the living room which quickly became the focal point of entertainment.

The Wii was designed precisely for use with bigger televisions of this kind. Large flatscreen TVs meant a bit more open floor space, allowing everyone to move their bodies and play around — and thus engage in the highly interactive form of Wii gaming with its controller encouraging full-body movement.

Iwata summarizes this as:

“In our humble opinion, this was a breakthrough.”

Yes. A breakthrough indeed. And one of those strange implications of implications which we like to explore through the use of the Disruption Map tool:

Flatscreen TVs are getting cheaper and more available ⇢ Leading to households investing into a single big screen TV ⇢ Leading to that screen becoming the focal point of entertainment inside the living room ⇢ Allowing for different forms of interaction as one has a) more room and b) can stand further away from the TV ⇢ Development of the Nintendo Wii as a new type of gaming experience which makes use of these emerging factors.

It is a beautiful example of the power of Disruption Maps to identify trends which have interesting (and often non-obvious) effects. And a good reminder to be on the lookout for those second, third and fourth order consequences, which also, more often than not, occur in adjacent industries to our own.

What is the “flatscreen TV”-equivalent in your industry you are keeping an eye on?

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