Before the age of smartphones and iPads, predating even the old-school iPod, there was the original hand-held tech that distracted an entire generation of tweens and teens – the Nintendo Game Boy.
The Game Boy’s history is a proud one – marked with many a smile and millions of units sold. Following the incredible success and popularity boom of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and personal computers during the early to mid 80s, the Game Boy was first released in North America in August 1989.
Positioning itself as an on-the-go, cheaper alternative to the original NES, the Game Boy went on to sell more than 118 million units worldwide between 1989 and 2003. In a market flooded with competitors like SEGA’s Game Gear and even Nintendo’s own Virtual Boy, the Game Boy continued to dominate the portable gaming system marketplace.
With the release of the Game Boy Color in 1998 and the Advance model in 2001, Nintendo and the Game Boy family showcased their proclivity for tech advancement for which they’ve always been known.
The Game Boy was ultimately replaced by the Nintendo DS in 2004, with the portable gaming system industry as a whole taking its lumps thanks to the ever-growing popularity of smartphones.
While the Game Boy may have been relegated from the shelves of toy stores to the pages of eBay, it continues to stand as an excellent case study for market supremacy and a great example of a product whose unique positioning was never lost in its evolution and growth.