Former Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aimé has revealed his misgivings on the launch of Game Boy Micro – a project he said his company was “forced” to launch despite its concept being a “nonstarter”.
Writing in his newly-published Disrupting the Game memoir, Fils-Aimé said he was surprised to hear of plans for Game Boy Micro relatively late in its development, and despite Nintendo having moved on to focus on Game Boy Advance’s successor, Nintendo DS.
In a section of the book posted online by VGC, Fils-Aimé also said he disliked the Micro’s form factor. Overall, it was a “distraction”, he concluded – something which he later moved to ensure became a “teachable moment” and not repeated.
“From my perspective, the concept of Game Boy Micro was a nonstarter,” Fils-Aimé wrote. “The hardware was exceptionally small, not only were the control buttons difficult for any reasonably-sized adult to manipulate, but also the screen was tiny. This ran counter to current consumer electronics trends of making screens larger.
“But development of this hardware had continued, and now we were forced to launch the system. ‘We should have talked about this long ago’, I told [Nintendo of America colleagues] Don James and Mike Fukuda. ‘We should have all agreed that this product would be a distraction for us in our market and either not introduce it here or have it terminated as a project globally. By working together we could have had a different outcome’.
“My point was not to rebuke them – at the time we were peers,” he continued. “It was to identify that we were operating in silos and this made us ineffective in managing projects coming from NCL [Nintendo Japan].”
The “lesson” here was that Nintendo of America leadership needed a closer relationship with other executives in the company, and better sharing of information, Fils-Aimé concluded.
Earlier today, Fils-Aimé distanced himself from recent reports concerning contract workers at Nintendo, and said the issues raised were not representative of his time in charge.