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Opinion Game Dev Phil Spencer Says Xbox Could Never Have Designed A Console Like The Nintendo Wii

IbizaPocholo

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Xbox boss Phil Spencer has been a champion of gaming for a while, and has often celebrated many different elements of the industry outside of his purview. Just this week he has been seen talking about Nintendo, and how the Wii helped pave the way for them today.

As transcribed by Video Games Chronicle, a US-only show has appeared on Crackle known as Playing With Power (which our sister site Nintendo Life has wonderfully covered). The series looks into Nintendo’s history and features many industry officials, Spencer being one of them.

Spencer mentioned that Nintendo is a company the industry should cherish, and how he could never have designed a system such as the popular Wii. But its impact gave Xbox a “real jolt” to not follow the industry and come up with their own ideas.

“I remember seeing it and I’ll tell you, I could have never designed the Wii… I don’t have that in me. I don’t know if I’m not brave enough or whatever as a platform holder now to go and do something as just completely different, and to be just so all-in on a new paradigm was just amazing to see. It gave us a real jolt that we can’t just be great at what others are doing, we have to have to some unique things that are important for our platform, and the Wii was just a perfect example of that.”

Despite his love for Nintendo and admiration for what they do, one thing he simply cannot get his head around is the Nintendo 64 controller, which he says he just doesn’t understand.

“I still don’t understand the controller, just being honest. I guess it’s multiple controllers in one, but you needed three hands to play that!”

 

Vier

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Bogroll

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The Kinect (and PlayStation Move) were both designed and released in response to the Wii, to try to capture the same casual audience through motion controls.
Yeah but I was on about the Xb1. But I didn't get my point across very well. I guess what I was trying to say is. I just wanted a traditional gaming system from Nintendo and Xbox without motion controls.
 

Shubh_C63

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They did kinect after Wii. Copying is easy.

They would not had the balls or the expertise to make it first. Not to mention any gimmicky (or different than usual) console idea needs ample software to complement which MS could have never fulfilled, hell they're still struggling.

Did MS or Sony had any knock out must buy motion game in that entire gen ?

Meanwhile Nintendo here selling cardboard boxes and making games first and console second (kinda)
 
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dcmk7

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I think the most innovative thing MS has ever done was Xbox Live and Achievements.

In fact, the whole first year of Xbox 360 all felt very ahead of it's time. With SF2 on Live Arcade, DOA4, a lot of highlights.

Not sure what happened to that era of MS. I miss that.
 
Sep 18, 2019
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Kind of. But that also proves Phil's point. They wanted to please both worlds with XB1, not letting go of their traditional core.
That also proves that he is full of shit as he is kinda lying. Just after the Wii they did try to design a similar thing.
 

Calverz

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The funny thing is MS get shit for the kinect. But it did help sell like 30 million more 360’s. So it was good business and its understanable why there was a sequel. But it shouldnt have been forced or packaged in.
 

Soodanim

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Ignoring the obvious for a moment, it’s interesting to think about how the meetings would have went for Sony and Microsoft when they discussed what the Wii was doing to the industry. It was the moment Nintendo took a left turn, and by the time the other two realised what had happened it was too late.

At least with Sony they took their Move tech and kept it alive with their VR headset, because they took something out of it all.

Microsoft seem to have gone the other way and stuck to their core of just games as we know them, for better or worse. They’re doing fine, and the Bethesda acquisition feeds into the desire for a strong foundation of games first with no gimmicks.

It’s easy to undervalue just how much the Wii did to the industry. The domino effect it set in motion shaped the consoles we have today.
 

Bojanglez

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It's not that they couldn't, it's that they don't have the beloved IP and trust from gamers in significant numbers to follow them on such a journey. Nintendo don't give a shit, they know that even a 'failure' is not a loss it's a lesson and will probably break even just by selling it to their base. They can then always pivot to new hardware and games can just be adapted and resold again in the future (WiiU -> Switch).
 
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darthpaxton

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It's not that they couldn't, it's that they don't have the beloved IP and trust from gamers in significant numbers to follow them on such a journey.
Five of the top seven best-selling games on the WiiU were new IP and they weren't even really IP. "Sports" and "Fit" and "Play" are just kind of vague concepts, yet they still accounted for almost 20% of all software sold for the console. The Wii didn't succeed because of their IP, the Wii succeeded because it was able to capture a new audience that was not traditionally interested in games and ultimately proved not to be sustainable because even Nintendo themselves largely abandoned a lot of the Wii principles despite it selling over 100 million units. As for "trust from gamers," I think you're wildly overstating that point. Nintendo is no doubt the "brand name" in gaming, but I don't think that the audience they captured that put it "over the top" really cared. Lots of parents and grandparents who had never played games before were interested in the Wii, not because of the fact that it was a Nintendo product, but because of the incredibly low barrier to entry in price and how accessible and approachable the motion controls were.
 
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Bojanglez

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Five of the top seven best-selling games on the WiiU were new IP and they weren't even really IP. "Sports" and "Fit" and "Play" are just kind of vague concepts, yet they still accounted for almost 20% of all software sold for the console. The Wii didn't succeed because of their IP, the Wii succeeded because it was able to capture a new audience that was not traditionally interested in games and ultimately proved not to be sustainable because even Nintendo themselves largely abandoned a lot of the Wii principles despite it selling over 100 million units. As for "trust from gamers," I think you're wildly overstating that point. Nintendo is no doubt the "brand name" in gaming, but I don't think that the audience they captured that put it "over the top" really cared. Lots of parents and grandparents who had never played games before were interested in the Wii, not because of the fact that it was a Nintendo product, but because of the incredibly low barrier to entry in price and how accessible and approachable the motion controls were.
My comment wasn't about the fact that they launched new IP, or even the Wii's success. I was stating that their confidence and ability to take risks in new platforms in general is emboldened by the fact that they can rely on their exceptional existing IP. I agree that the Wii (not WiiU) took off because it expanded the offering beyond the people that came to play Zelda and knew Mario games would be coming.
 

assurdum

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Wasn't the Xbox one basically a Wii which prioritize Kinect 2 features more than real hardware specs? This guy has a short memory isn't it? And still people listen him. He would say whatever thing to appear the nice pal broh.
 
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Dr.D00p

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The only reason Nintendo can get away with designing such esoteric hardware is because they have the internal software development teams behind them, with an IP library that appeals across all demographics.

...Something that neither MS nor Sony have.
 

thelastword

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Are you trying to compare a webcam peripheral that had eight game in North America to a Nintendo console that sold 100 million units?
No, I'm comparing the technology. You spoke of Sony copying Nintendo.....Just showing that was not the case......
 

darthpaxton

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No, I'm comparing the technology. You spoke of Sony copying Nintendo.....Just showing that was not the case......
Motion-controlled gaming has been around since the late 80's, I believe, but there's a big difference between racing games in the arcade or making a small peripheral with minimal software support versus the premiere brand in gaming going all-in on it for several years to remarkable success.
 
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They sort of did. Xbox One with Kinect. A device that was forced upon us to buy even if you didn't want to use it.
But, like Sony with their move controllers it was strictly a reactionary thing.

And Kinect broke the Xbox division with its success (success is not always a good thing)... That thing led to the Xbox one.
 

Bonfires Down

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I know there were a few games that actually used the left side of the N64 controller but I don't think I played any of them. It certainly seems pointless in hindsight.
 

Kokoloko85

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The wii, move and kinect all suck.
Switch is awesome. VR is good but will be awesome.
Motion controls will be good with VR and AR
 

sainraja

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Ignoring the obvious for a moment, it’s interesting to think about how the meetings would have went for Sony and Microsoft when they discussed what the Wii was doing to the industry. It was the moment Nintendo took a left turn, and by the time the other two realised what had happened it was too late.

At least with Sony they took their Move tech and kept it alive with their VR headset, because they took something out of it all.

Microsoft seem to have gone the other way and stuck to their core of just games as we know them, for better or worse. They’re doing fine, and the Bethesda acquisition feeds into the desire for a strong foundation of games first with no gimmicks.

It’s easy to undervalue just how much the Wii did to the industry. The domino effect it set in motion shaped the consoles we have today.
Whatever disruption the Wii caused didn't really last that long and I would disagree about how it shaped the consoles we have today. Motion controls are not the main focus of any of the three and Xbox has no motion controls at all now.

EDIT

Main focus being the primary way to control in a game.
 
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MagnesG

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PS have their VR, Xbox going all in on Gamepass/Xcloud.

It's good to have something unique for each of them.
 
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Krisprolls

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They tried with the atrocity that is kinect.


Didn't think I'd see warriors in this thread. So now the Wii copied Sony lol

Judge Judy Reaction GIF by Agent M Loves Gifs

Eyetoy was out long before the Wii, it's a fact. Feel free to check the dates on the net. Eyetoy was released in october 2003, Wii is November 2006.

Sony used time travel for Eyetoy confirmed.
 

fart town usa

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Never understood the confusion with the N64 controller. Most games utilized the middle and right prongs. Holding the Left and Right was like an old school controller.

I think the N64 controller was one of the greatest of all time, mostly for 1st party games but something like Turok really showed that FPS games can work great too. Not sure how it would feel now but back when it released, it was a total game changer for consoles. That is, being able to "free look" for aiming and then move your character with the C-Buttons.

Edit- Some FPS games have an option where you can hold 2 controllers, middle prong each, for dual analog gameplay, lol. I'm pretty sure that Goldeneye has it but I know for certain that Perfect Dark had it. I never tried it at the time, noticed it years later when playing Perfect Dark on an emulator.
 
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sainraja

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Are you trying to compare a webcam peripheral that had eight game in North America to a Nintendo console that sold 100 million units?
I think you missed the point he was trying to make completely. Motion controls were introduced to a console with the EyeToy (oddly enough Sony was also testing a controller around that time as well which looked kinda like what they released with the Move.)

Wii basically made motion controls the primary way to control a device and it wasn't relying on a camera for it but the idea of motion controls and its implementation with the Wii made it the focus which was the key difference with the EyeToy which also helped in its adoption.

For Nintendo, it was basically a make it or break it decision and luckily for them it was a hit with people.
 
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futurama78

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So you take a wand, mouse and hand puppets to make the Wii? Wut? Minority Report was in theaters before too. So... like... is he trying to get Nintendo to do a little something with the Switch 2 tech?