Reggie didn’t think the Game Boy Micro was a good idea
Despite releasing the DS in 2004, Nintendo wasn’t entirely done with the Game Boy Advance line. The GBA saw another redesign in the form of the Game Boy Micro. As the name implies, it was one of Nintendo’s smallest handhelds ever.
Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, who was executive VP of sales and marketing at the time, felt that the Game Boy Micro was a mistake. In his new book, he called the device a “nonstarter”, mentioning how GBA inventory was being cleared out in the US, the buttons were difficult to use, and the screen was too small. Ultimately though, Nintendo of America was “forced to launch the system.”
“At this point, we had already launched Nintendo DS, and our focus was on making this product a long term success. The Game Boy Advance business was in a state of decline, and NOA was planning on closing out the line with a Black Friday promotion that would clear out all our remaining inventory. These plans were created in early 2005.
Shortly thereafter, I first heard of Game Boy Micro. Members of our operations and product development teams had been aware of the Micro much earlier than I. From my perspective, the concept of Game Boy Micro was a nonstarter. 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 electronic 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 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 It was to identify that we were operating in silos and this made us ineffective in managing projects coming from NCL.”
Reggie would close out this section of his book by stating that when the Game Boy Micro launched in 2005, its sales were “lackluster”. The system sold fewer than a million units in its first month and less than two million units after four months at the end of 2005.