Marketing for the PowerGlove focused on immersion in the game. PowerGlove has captured the mind of the American public. It was even on Stephen Colbert recently. Even though it was really cool. It was a commercial failure.
The PowerGlove was
- rated the 7th worst video game controller of all time
- sold $88M US (failure)
- japanese producer declared bankruptcy
It was so bad that people are still complaining about it today.
Bill Buxton – data design
The PowerGlove was based on the NASA technology, VPL data glove (a $10,000 device) that was used for space walks. Nintendo decided to make a consumer version, which presented huge engineering and design challenges.
“This was a total fire drill,” says Gentile of the AGE team.
- Business – what problems are we going to solve?
- Technology – how are we going to solve them?
- Users – how will it affect the users?
The problem comes about when the technology or business comes first. The user should be the focus.
Every project starts with people.
Find the right problem.
What would have happened if Nintendo had found the right problem in the first place.
The Study (Guerilla Research)
- small samples sizes (5-7)
- qualitative, not quatitative
- get the designer out of his/her own head
Doing a quick study helps you figure out if you are headed the right direction and if you need to do more research.
- direct manipulation is better with friends
- kids more willing to move with others present
There are always distractions in the environment in which they play games.
Where would a glove be valuable?
- racing games
- things that involved feet
- things that didn’t involve hands
The right problem in 1989
- direct manipulation is great, but boil it down to a couple of actions
- provide good constraint, margin for erros
- clear link between action and game
- make it a social activity
Punchout would have been a great first game for the PowerGlove.
The wii is the spiritual successor to the PowerGlove when Nintendo finally got it right. Since then, however, they have been passed up by Microsoft with xbox Kinect and the Sony PlayStation Move.
What do you do when you are coming up with the next great product? Make sure you do the research
- Guerrilla UX Research Methods: Thrifty, Fast, and Effective User Experience Research Techniques, Unger and Warfel
- Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design (Interactive Technologies), Bill Buxton
- Design Research: Methods and Perspectives, Brenda Laurel
- Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience, Jeff Gothelf
- The Powerglove gets it on with Minority Report and births the Ion Ergonomic Air Mouse Glove [Video] (inquisitr.com)
- Apple is working on a games console – Microsoft has a chance to compete, but are Sony and Nintendo finished? (postdesk.com)
- Michael Pachter Predicts Nintendo Will ‘Dreamcast Itself’ with Wii U (gamerant.com)