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Many reasons led to the Game Boy Micro’s failure despite it being the best-looking Game Boy. Ever wondered what are they? This is exactly why we’ve come up with this article.

In this guide, we’ll discuss:

  • What is the Game Boy Micro?
  • How long did it last?
  • Reasons for its failure
  • FAQs on why Game Boy Micro fail

So, let’s start!

A Little Background on the Game Boy Micro

The Game Boy Micro was the final system that was launched in the Game Boy Line. It arrived on September 13, 2005 – two years after the release of the Game Boy Advance SP of which 40 million units were sold. The release was followed 6 days later by America and it took further 2 months for Australia and Europe to get their hands on this beauty.

The name of the game was completely fitting as it measured just 4 inches wide, 2 inches tall, and 0.7 inches deep making it one hell of a tiny device. Even though the 2-inch screen was almost an inch smaller than the Game Boy SP, it consisted of richer colors and a stronger backlight.

As opposed to the GBA and GBA SP which could play all of the Game Boy games, the Game Boy Micro could only run the GBA games. That’s because even though the device had all the processing power and graphics to handle the older games, the parts needed for backward compatibility were missing. Well, this seemed justified considering its micro size!

Priced at only $99 at the time of release along with access to the whole Game Boy Advance library, the game was definitely expected to be a huge success.

Why Did the Game Boy Micro Fail?

So, with all these features, why did the Game Boy Micro fail? The critics had many things to complain about such as the too-small screen and the compact chassis that caused pain in the hands after an extensive gaming session.

1. Weak Marketing Approach

A weak marketing approach is one of the major reasons that brought the failure of the game. That’s because software developers, publishers, and distributors believed that Game Boy Micro could easily sell. So, the company took the ordinary marketing approach instead of putting much effort into it.

What it failed to realize was that people need to physically touch and feel the Micro be impressed by it. However, the customers had to evaluate the device without actually touching it. So, the company was unable to convey the unique value of the game and the consumers concluded that the device is not worth the price.

2. The Release of the Nintendo DS

Nintendo released the Ds in 2004; just a year before the release of the Game Boy Micro and it took the whole world by storm. Even though both the games were intended to work alongside, the DS was a huge success and soon sold more than 1 million units in the USA. Therefore, the Game Boy seemed like old news contributing to the Game Boy Micro failure.

In addition to this, Nintendo also cut down the price of the DS just before the release of the Micro. So, the gamers could either buy a Micro at $99 or contribute an extra $30 and buy a DS for just $129. So, the choice seemed obvious.

3. Ineffective Execution of the Faceplates

The faceplate was also the biggest concern of the users. While it seemed a great idea to customize the look of their gaming console on paper, its execution was extremely weak.

The official faceplates were difficult to remove without the assistance of a specific tool. As a result, the users often snapped the pegs that were holding them in place.

Moreover, the faceplate scratched quite easily too. So, the users needed either a replacement faceplate or a protective film.

4. The Change in the EST Ports

Another real problem was the change of the EXT ports to a different type. The users had to use different link cables and chargers which they found quite frustrating.

The backward compatibility of a system is always a beloved feature that users want in a gaming console. However, due to the compact size of the Micro, this feature was also missing.

The noisy headphone output was another reason that bothered the users. A continuous humming sound could be heard while using the headphones which many people considered a deal-breaker.

5. Incompatibility with Other Devices

The gamers could play all the games that were available in the Game Boy Advance Game Pack on the Micro. However, if they didn’t have the GBA Game Pack, they were unable to play any other game on the device. That’s because it wasn’t compatible with any other device.

Other than that, the users were even unable to use the accessories of the GBA Game Pack with the Micro. Thus, they had to use only the accessories that came with the Game Boy Micro if they wanted to play the game.

So, was the Game Boy Micro a failure because it was incompatible with other devices? Well, it was definitely one of the reasons!

How Long Did the Game Boy Micro Last?

Nintendo soon realized that the entire Game boy Micro idea had backfired. So, they discontinued it in 2008; only three years after its initial release.

It’s easy to see why the game failed. The DS launched by Nintendo quickly became the company’s main money-spinner and the Game Boy Micro started looking outdated and tired.

Other than that, after the release of the Sony PSP, consumers started realizing that they could buy two more proficient systems instead of the Micro.

So, what happened to the Game Boy Micro after it was discontinued? Now, the gaming console is considered a retro item and is quite popular among collectors because of its limited number of units.

How Much Is a Game Boy Micro Worth Now?

We have noticed a significant increase in the price of the Game boy Micro over the last few years. This gaming console is now available to be bought in the range of $125 to $449.

So, even though the Game Boy Micro failed in previous years, what is so special about it now? Well, there is nothing special about the game but the rarity and the demand have made it more expensive.

Before we conclude the article, let’s check out some frequently asked questions that users searched for while looking for the reasons that led to the failure of the Game Boy Micro.

FAQs — Why Did the Game Boy Micro Fail?

How many Game Boy Micros were?
You will be surprised to know that a total of only 50 sets of the Game Boy Micro were produced. For this reason, it has become one of the rarest games Nintendo ever produced.

When was the Game Boy Micro discontinued?

The Game Boy Micro lasted only three years and Nintendo discontinued it in 2008 after they realized that the gaming console wasn’t doing as well as they had anticipated.

How do you reset a Game Boy Micro?

The restarting process of the Game Boy Micro is quite simple. All you need to do is press the Start, Select, A, and B buttons together. This is the same as switching the game off and on.

Will Nintendo make another Game Boy?

According to reports, Nintendo is currently developing a new and improved version of the Game Boy. Its body will be made using aluminum, adding more to its resistance against scratches and dents.

Does the Game Boy Micro have a headphone jack?

Even though Nintendo omitted the headphone jack in the Game Boy Advance SP, this is not the case with the Game Boy Micro. The headphone jack was reintroduced in this gaming console despite the reduction in its size.


The majority of the people considered the Game Boy Micro a flop as it wasn’t as successful as the GBA and the GBA SP. But, we wouldn’t say that it completely killed off the Game Boy line.

While the device isn’t perfect by any stretch, there is something incredibly elegant about its design and casing. The cherry on the top is its compact chassis making it one hell of a portable device.

So, if you are considering buying this retro gaming set, we would for sure encourage you to do so. There’s nothing more enjoyable than spending a few minutes playing Final Fantasy V Advance or the Mario Kart Super Circuit on the go without carrying any bag or case with you.

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