Monday, 6 April 2015
What everyone thought was just another April Fool's prank turned out to be a clever market testing strategy.
Gaming retailer Hyperkin has unveiled a hardware emulator that can turn an iPhone into a Game Boy on April 1 with the following announcement on its Facebook page: "Meet the Smart Boy, an upcoming Game Boy-compatible device for the iPhone 6 Plus. This notion art shows that it will attach to the mobile phone, turning it into a handheld gaming device compatible with Game Boy and its Color cartridges."
Basically, the concept art looks like the control half of a Game Boy clipped to an iPhone. It has all the buttons on the classic handheld gaming device but this time, it will get power from the smartphone which is capable of providing about 5 hours straight of gameplay, as reported by Cheyney Group Marketing.
And after seeing a tide of positive response from consumers, Hyperkin came out with the punch line: "A lot of you were speculating that the Smart Boy is an April Fools' joke. Well, it sort of was ... Looks like you awesome folks ACTUALLY WANT IT, so the Smart Boy is now in development!"
The company admitted that they "leaked it with the initial intent of testing the market ... under the guise of an April Fools' Joke." What makes it ingenious is its use of April 1 as a setting where they can safely test the market's response to a quirky product -- if it receives jeers, they can just shrug it off with a "Happy April Fools!", but if it receives positive interest, it will endear itself to users with a "We'll make it for you then."
However, not everyone is thrilled with the surprise announcement, especially taking into consideration the potential infringement on Nintendo's intellectual property rights.
Some users also commented that Hyperkin has previously been accused of software license violations when it has taken code from RetroArch, an open-source gaming project. Cheyney Group Marketing confirmed that RetroArch is under non-commercial license so if Hyperkin did use the open-source code for commercial purposes, it's likely that there's been a violation.