Collectivist product design

This promo for Nintendo‘s “3DS” portable games system is particularly interesting. I feel that it demonstrates that collectivist social values map well to product design in regards to social gaming, passive interactions, and appeal to a broad demographic:

Nintendo’s philosophy appears to be to make products that are elegant, complement a healthy life, promote social interaction, and evoke a sense of wonder that can be shared with others (not just “gamers”).

This philosophy took root when Satoru Iwata became CEO in 2002 and he eloquently described it in his keynote address to the 2005 Game Developers’ Conference. Following are some key excerpts.

Early in the speech, Iwata poses a number of questions to the games industry:

As we spend more time and money chasing exactly the same players, who are we leaving behind?

Are we are creating games just for each other?

Do you have friends and family members who do not play video games?

Well, why don’t they?

And, I would ask this: How often have you challenged yourself to create a game that you might not play?

I think these questions form an important challenge for all of us.

Later in the speech, he hints at how Nintendo seeks to answers these questions:

In the universe of interactive entertainment, there is a planet we call video games. It is the one we know best.

But … it is only one.

Also in our universe are other planets which entertain, but in different ways from current games. It is this part of the universe we are anxious to explore.

I have a great deal of respect for Nintendo and I applaud them for relentlessly pursuing their “entertainment for all” philosophy. I’m looking forward to the 3DS.

3 thoughts on “Collectivist product design”

  1. So somone finally did a tagging system. I’ve been waiting for a device/app to bring this kind of idea into the forefront in a well intregrated and seamless manner, looks like 3DS will be the first. I think this kind of passive social interaction, and more importantly, awareness, will be absolutely huge to the market and I hope/would love to be part of exploiting it fully.

    On a side note, after watching that now I want to make a 3DS rip off of Magic the Gathering with actual cards.

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