When former developer Satoru Iwata took over Nintendo from the outspoken and cantankerous Hiroshi Yamauchi, many questioned where he would lead the firm. The company's fortunes were at a low ebb. While it had retained its profitability even through the toughest of times, it had handed away leadership of the console market to Sony, and was soon to face another new competitor in the form of the vastly wealthy Microsoft.
In the face of the relative failure of the GameCube (relative, since the system was profitable and sold similar numbers to the Xbox) and the declining profile of the Game Boy Advance, Iwata took the bold step of announcing a completely new hardware platform for the company.
It was a flip-top handheld with two GBA-sized screens, one of which was touch-sensitive. The consensus of many commentators, both within the industry and in the press, was that Iwata and Nintendo had gone quite, quite mad.