During IGN’s recent Podcast Unlocked, they interviewed three generations of Xbox leadership. In that interview they stated something that most people already figured. That being when the Xbox 360 came out, they were completely focused on Sony and had discounted Nintendo after the Gamecube.
Peter Moore: I also then remember the E3 when, God bless, Kaz Hirai and Jack Tretton announced $599, and we were all back stage like ‘Woohoo!” We knew then we had an opportunity to get ahead, drive ahead, get our games out quickly and get that lead. And I always said that the first to 10 million wins.
It was one of the greatest times of my career. You had to build a team, because we were growing then. We had prematurely put the Xbox to sleep, we needed to get ready for this and we knew what we needed to do. We had a three-day meeting at the Sheraton in Bellevue where we wargamed the scenario, and I actually played Ken Kutaragi. And we brought in a consultancy, it was a lot of fun. And the one thing we’d forgotten about, I don’t know if you remember this Phil [Spencer], we completely discounted Nintendo. Because they came off the GameCube and it was a disaster.
Phil Spencer: …and they destroyed both of us!
Peter Moore: Yes, with the Wii. But we wargamed for three days, what are you going to do, what do the launch titles look like, what are the marketing budgets, what is the positioning? And it was a fascinating experience which I’ll never forget. And this is a decade ago. And I actually played Ken, and my job was to destroy the launch of the Xbox 360.
Looking back on it, the Wii’s success was out of this world. Both Microsoft and Sony completely dismissed Nintendo in favor of focusing on each other. Meanwhile, the Wii just took off at a ridiculous pace. I remember after the Wii, all the companies were trying to do things like Nintendo, such as inserting their own player created characters into games and forcing motion into things when it’s not needed.