For the last 12 months, nostalgia has been a recurring theme in the latest technology releases. Several major companies have chosen to resurrect devices, consoles and games that initially peaked in the past, adapting them to withstand the demand of 21st century tech advances whilst still resonating emotionally with consumers of the past.
Similarly to the release of Pokémon Go, which saw a virtual reality spin on the classic 1997 Nintendo franchise, multinational companies such as Nintendo and Nokia are issuing nostalgic products with a new lease of life for the modern audience.
From 8-Bit To Beyond
The Nintendo Switch is the seventh major video console developed by Nintendo; the multinational electronics company responsible for some of the best-known video games franchises, such as Mario and Pokemon. As a brand itself, Nintendo’s roots are deeply invested in the evolution of home gaming. Iconic gaming consoles of the 1990’s such as Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and the GameCube, coupled with handheld consoles such as the Game Boy and Nintendo DS have been merged to create a multi-functional device that is instantly familiar to consumers of the past, but still holds appeal to consumers of the current generation.
The Nintendo Switch had a stellar opening weekend, selling 330,637 consoles in Japan alone. This success is not only owed to the console alone, but the caliber of games that Nintendo is re-releasing on this new device. Old school family favourites such as Sonic The Hedgehog, Mario Kart and The Legend of Zelda are being revamped and served to the public through advertisements that are set to entice veteran arcade gamers of the 80’s, right up to modern players who seek a certain level of practicality with consoles. Whilst the Nintendo Switch does not seek to replace the brand’s current handheld consoles such as the 3DS, its ability to rein in lost Nintendo fans who may have moved on to different, more “mainstream” consoles such as Playstation and Xbox is certainly a huge sales opportunity.
3310 in 2017
Smartphones are a deeply-rooted part of current society, with consumers expecting more ability and technology at their fingertips in this truly “mobile first” world. Despite a number of highly impressive flagship smartphones being unveiled this year, such as the 4K HDR Sony Xperia Premium which features revolutionary capabilities that have not been provided in a mobile before, the launch of this product has been completely upstaged by a device that initially hit shelves in late 2000.
Nokia has released a remake of the classic 3310 model, a phone which became an icon in the 2000’s due to its sturdy design and inclusion of mobile game “Snake.” Nearly two decades after it was originally released, Nokia has remodelled the 3310, providing a new “modernised” design and slightly more functionality. Carphone Warehouse, the only company which opened up pre-registration for the handset, has claimed the demand for the device has been “astonishing”, with online searches for Nokia jumping by 797 per cent.
Despite offering considerably less functionality than current phones on the market (it has a 2MP camera and 2.5G connectivity), this retro move by Nokia seeks to cash in on appeal to those who fondly remember the original version, rather than tech-savvy millennials who want to purchase on functionality. Retailing for a modest price of around £40, the new Nokia 3310 is marketed as a small investment for consumers wishing to own a practical item from the 2000’s and cash in on a piece of nostalgic tech.
Back To The Future
Looking to cash-in on retro appeal, BlackBerry and Samsung have both revealed new products that on the surface, resemble products from the past. A staggered release of throwback artifacts into the current marketplace is extremely likely, as 2017 sets the tune for the year of nostalgia.
With Nokia leading the way, popular media has been cluttered with tech journalists calling for the resurrection of more products that peaked in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. This consumer demand for more simplistic and novel technology may carry itself for the foreseeable future, as in a tech-oriented world, many consumers seem to fondly reflect on “simpler times.” Groundbreaking technology such as augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly accessible to the mass market place and is thereby losing the perception of being “the future.”
A back to basics approach may only work in the short-term, especially due to the rapid advancements in technology and the consumer demand behind that, however this approach of producing nostalgic tech is an effective way to reaffirm customer loyalty and act as a reminder to customers of the past why they bought into a brand in the first place.
From a sales perspective, investing time and resources into reissuing products from the archives of a company’s past does not appear financially viable. Despite this, playing on human emotion through nostalgia can help strengthen relationships between consumers and a brand; compelling buyers of the past to invest loyalty into a brand once again.
Do you think more nostalgic technology will be introduced into the market place? What products would you like to see make a comeback? Tweet @mporiumgroup or comment below.