Judge bans sale of some Wii controllers
A judge yesterday banned the sale of Wii Classic and GameCube controllers because Nintendo violated a patent on analog joysticks used in their controllers. Apparently the patent is owned by a Texas company, Anascape Ltd. This isn’t a killer for Nintendo since the standard Wii controller and the associated nunchuck are still on the market, but the Wii Classic and GameCube controllers are used to play many of the games on the Wii’s Virtual Console (a place to buy downloadable games, many of which are games that came out for older systems such as the SNES). More than anything else, it’s a public relations fiasco for Nintendo. It’s unlikely the customers will be unable to get these controllers for long as they’re available in much greater supply than the Wii itself.
Furthermore, the amount of money Nintendo will end up paying Anascape (if any) is likely to be a fraction of what they’ve made on the Wii so far. So mostly they just have to deal with a lot of articles in the news about how they violated a patent and how it will now be impossible for consumers to find these controllers. Of course, Nintendo could get really lucky and have those news stories drive more people to buy these controllers now, further increasing Nintendo’s revenue, making the lawsuit effectively backfire. But that’s just too ridiculous to ever actually happen.