The Game Boy Micro was the final system that was launched in the VERY successful Nintendo Game Boy Line. It was released on September 13, 2005 which was two years after the release of the Game Boy Advance SP which sold over 40 million units world wide!
The system was a great design and state of the art. It measured just 4 inches wide, 2 inches tall and 0.7 inches deep making it a VERY tiny device that could tuck into your pocket easily. The 2" screen was almost an inch smaller then the Game Boy SP but it had a stronger backlight and had very rich colors.
As opposed to the Game Boy Advance SP and the Game Boy Advance which could play all the Game Boy Games, the Game Boy Micro was very limited as it could only play Game Boy Advance games. That's because even though the device had all the processing power and graphics to handle the older games, the parts needed for backwards compatibility were missing.
It was released at a retail price of just $99USD and was absolutely expected to be a massive success! So why did it fail???
The critics had many things to complain about such as the screen being too small and the compact chassis that caused pain in the hands after an extensive gaming session. But honestly, those factors were only a small part of the reason of why it actually failed.
Weak Marketing Approach
Nintendo, along with the software developers, publishers and distributors all believed that this console would be a home run without much effort so no one really tried to hard to market it. What they failed to realize was that people need to physically touch and feel something to be impressed by it.
Nintendo had always done a great job in the past of putting their products into the hands of the consumer so that they could evaluate it for themselves. Not once had they setup a demo of this console and the consumer just decided that the value wasn't there. They were happy with the offerings of that were currently on the market and having something small that didn't play the entire library of released games was very limiting.
The Release of the Nintendo DS
Nintendo released the Nintendo DS in 2004, a year before the Game Boy Micro and it was a MASSIVE sales success! The DS soon sold more then a 1 million units in the USA alone. The Game Boy Micro seemed like old news since the DS had a bigger screen, a strong backlight and also played Game Boy Advance games. To make matters worse for the success of the Game Boy Micro, Nintendo cut the retail price of the Nintendo DS just before the release of the Micro to $129 which made it only $30 more!
The faceplates on the Game Boy Micro may have seemed like a great idea on the drawing board but they were an absolute flop. They were released as a way to "customize" the console by simply taking one faceplate off and popping another on. Unfortunately they were very difficult to remove without the assistance of a specific tool. As a result, the users often snapped the pegs that were holding them in place. Moreover, the faceplates scratched quite easily too.
Changing the Charger/Link Port
Not sure why but Nintendo thought it would be smart to change the Charger/Link port on the Game Boy Micro. This meant that users had to use different link cables and chargers which they found quite frustrating.
Above and beyond the above issues, this console was plagued with other issues. It was great that Nintendo included a headphone port back on this console but the port was known to have an awful hum all the time that was quite annoying. All the previous released accessories for the other consoles wouldn't work on this one either. The battery on the console was known to be a bit of a concern. Unlike the other consoles, including the DS, the battery was internal and not as easily swapped out either.
How Long Did the Game Boy Micro Last on the Market?
Nintendo kept the console on the market until 2008 but we suspect they only really kept it around that long so they could clear out inventory more then anything. The Game Boy Micro was also competing against the highly popular Sony PSP which was a LOT more proficient of a system and a direct competitor of the Nintendo DS console.
Even though the Game Boy Micro was discontinued, it is still a VERY popular console for retro video game collectors. In total there were about 50 different editions of the Game Boy Micro released which include some very cool special editions too! They are quite rare to find in good shape and can fetch a decent price. The price range on them tends to start in the rage of about $200 and the sky is the limit if you can find a special edition in the box.
Want to see what we have available for Game Boy Micro consoles? Check out the following link!