Twenty-five years ago, a small company called Nintendo of America took a big risk, launching its Nintendo Entertainment System during Christmas in New York City.
Although Nintendo was doing well in Japan, the videogame market in the United States was almost entirely nonexistent. New York City's retailers had been burned the hardest in the Atari crash two years earlier, and stores were loath to stock Nintendo's machine. So, the company rolled the dice, offering to give retailers the Nintendo Entertainment System for free — stores would pay only for the ones that sold. The cutthroat Manhattan market was tough to crack, but Nintendo's gamble paid off.
To mark the anniversary of this winning strategy, Game|Life writers present nine more risky moves that, for good or ill, had profound effects on the companies that undertook them.