I’ve just got a new phone, moving to Android from my creaking Windows phone. And it’s size has reminded me of a story from videogames – which I only learnt following a trip to an old school friends house after university way back in 2006. Crikey that’s a decade ago!
Half the size
For those wondering, my new phone is a Motorola Moto G4. Described as one of the best budget phones, I can attest to it’s one flaw, it’s pretty big! It’s very slim but the plus point of a 5 1/2 inch screen makes handling the thing sometimes problematic. I wanted it for media and gaming it’s not the end of the world, but I’m not used to something this large in my hand (snigger, snigger).
Moore’s law states that every two years, chips get twice as powerful but half the size. And
I want you to remember that because it’s definitely a factor in the Microsoft story I’m about to weave.
For all my talk of yarns from a decade past, it’s even more humbling to think that the original Xbox was released 16 years ago. The console had several real innovations to it’s name, whilst the Dreamcast should get some credit, it was dull old Microsoft’s freshman effort which truly brought online gaming to the console players. The console always meant it’s own mascot, which as everyone knows is Master Chief, which is here our story takes off.
Way back in 2008, after a few pints, we returned to Steve’s for a game of Halo. Whilst ‘archaic’, I was used to the console from university, whether it be Time Splitters or an edition of FIFA lost to history. Strangely, I’d never played Halo and despite my attachment to the Xbox – I’ve never had any real warmth to the saga of Master Chief.
But I digress, what struck me was the size of the controller. It’s kind of forgotten that controllers didn’t always used to be the neat little size they are today. The N64 controller has many faults, but by today’s standards it’s curiously large.
This makes it bizarre to a modern audience, even one which gets beyond the bizarre three prong layout. The Xbox also (originally) had a sizable controller, only shrunk when a Western audience realized what the Asia Pacific market was offered.
Moore’s law says that it probably become more commercially viable to offer a smaller controller, but it was the perception of smaller hands which led to the release of a smaller controller in Asia which when Westerners realized they preferred the more compact version.
This size became the de facto, all because an unforeseen consequence of a smaller controller being more attractive outside of it’s intended market. And even Motorola have shrunk the 2017 version of my new phone based on consumer preference.
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