|Originally posted by Dean Martin
I really don't believe that the Cube's main goal is to be a kiddy system or that the controllers are specifically designed for a child's hand. I believe it is because it is designed by a Japanese company and some of their tastes, design ideas are different than ours. If you look at their culture they are into a lot of colors and shapes and that sort of kiddy type design. It catches the eye. And in the U.S. it catches kids eyes.
I think you may have it right. The whole colorful/shapes design scheme is more accepted by adults in Japan than in the US. Adults in the US seem to be attracted to solid component-like equipment (...and I'm pretty sure there are few exceptions on AVS Forum:) ).
I personally think the GC looks like a toy. I think the games are good, functions fine, and the controller works fairly well (and I have some serious paws) but I don't care for the look and that's a significant detractor as I fall into the casual gamer/HT fan who doesn't want some bright colored cube and controllers visible in my room (once again - just my opinion and trying to give some insight into why GC design is unpopular with US adults who aren't big gaming fans). When my neighbor brought her's over and we were playing one of the Star Wars games I was loving the game but couldn't get over how it looked sitting in my living room. For me the xbox would be even better if they got rid of the green jewell up top, integrated the IR receiver for the remote, and made the whole thing out of heavy brushed metal (can we say industrial component - just my taste - BTW I've seen someone build a case like this for their xbox, top quality job and soooo good looking). Hell, I even leave my controllers unplugged because I feel it looks nicer. Still, this is my opinion on design taste purely but I doubt I'm alone in this regard.
Now for someone younger, kids like colors and noticable (what I could call obtrusive) design. Look at baby toys and all the bright colors and bobbles on them. As kids in the US grow older they want a more serious looking system since they likely associate a more "refined?" design as being for adults and something for adults as being of higher quality than an item made for children (I don't think that's a big jump in logic - most everything made especially for kids is smaller and of lower quality than the adult equivalents available - some exceptions but the best adult X is generally in a completely different league than the best X made for kids).
As far as the xbox controller, I think the majority of the problem was that people were used to Playstation and other modern small controllers making the original xbox controller a massive departure from what they were used to. I can definitely imagine many children just getting into gaming might have a problem holding onto and manipulating that rugged brick.
Anyway - My money is on the cultural design issue.