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Sony and Microsoft Both Passed On The Wiimote's Tech

Wiimotetech.jpg

On the eve of the launch of the Wii U, it's somehow easy to forget that the Wii is about to sail on to Old-School territory. With the industry's eyes focused on the future, whether it be the Wii U, the PS4, or whatever the next Xbox is going to be called, it feels like a lot of air is getting sucked out of the current generation's room. Thankfully, Rob Crossley at CVG has produced one hell of a look back on how the curious Wiimote came to be - and fittingly so, as Nintendo's shiny white toaster looks to surpass the 100 million units-sold mark.

In 2001, Nintendo bought in to a tiny American company called Gyration that owned a world-wide patent on the motion control technology that would end up being the foundation of the Wiimote. This was after Gyration's owner had pitched the tech to both Microsoft and Sony, thinking that Nintendo was on its way to being an also-ran in the video game world. The tech was rather tersely rebuffed by both companies, and only then did Gyration go to Nintendo. The timing was ideal, as Nintendo was struggling to compete in the home console market against its much larger competitors, having seen a drop in overall hardware sales and market share in every generation since the release of the NES. It wanted out, to innovate and expand the market rather than go toe to toe with companies in much higher weight categories.

The rest is well-known. The Wii, with its innovative controller and appealing price, brought Nintendo unprecedented success in the home console market - selling far more than even the NES - opening up the new, friendlier markets it was looking for. And while it delighted many and changed much, it failed to deliver on everything it promised, and left others deeply unhappy, gamers and developers alike. But, it would seem, nowhere was the upset felt more strongly than in the boardrooms of Sony's and Microsoft's gaming divisions where, following lacklustre sales in the face of a light-weight competitor, heads rolled, hurried me-too hardware was ordered, and (ultimately) motion control was brought in to the fold with Kinect and Move.

I'd urge anyone interested in the gaming industry to check out CVG's article, which provides a very rare insight into the internal workings of the industry's biggest movers and shakers, and a fascinating look at how it came to be that a funny-sounding console from a company many expected to go the way of Sega made such a big splash.

[via: Kotaku]

5 Comments

Keith said:

Does it bug anyone else when they see people call it a "wiimote?" It's called the Wii Remote. Two words. Come on now, it's not hard.

Bill said:

I love all 3, WII, 360 & PS3. But I still have a special love for Nintendo & probably always will. That said I still get a thrill when I read what a trouncing Nintendo gave Sony & MS the gen.

I remember when Nintendo finally announced what was going to make WII special, the WIImote. Both Sony & MS both practically pissed themselves laughing, berating Nintendo at every chance they got, they would never "rely on gimmicks on THEIR systems". When they saw themselves getting stomped by a "gimmick" what did they do? Here is OUR gimmick!!! Both MS & Sony were bad, but being that the PS was born out of a so called gimmick, the NINTENDO Playstation (the cd drive for the SNES) they should have kept their mouths shut!!

Daniel K said:

Thanks for the link to the CVG article; it was certainly a good read. It is indeed weird to think that the Wii is already old-school, when it was so innovative at the time. But, things keep moving forward. As Bill Gates said, quoted in the CVG article, you have to be running scared all the time if you want to stay in business.

And I suppose we'll see soon how the Wii U will fit into Nintendo's overall narrative.

Chris said:

I remember when I pre-ordered the Wii. I had no real interest in it, but the cute boy behind the gamestop counter kept on about how much I'd love the system. So I went ahead and pre-ordered it. Got it home on release day and honestly thought WTF when I first held the controllers. I gave it a go for about a week, then promptly took it back and traded it in for several 360 games.

I found the controller Extremely gimmicky. I just absolutely hated it.

Nintendo can keep their crappy motion controls, fake-tablet Wii-U, and whatever else they come up with. I'll be sticking to my standard 360/ps3 controllers, thanks anyway...lol.

Lance said:

I haven't played with my Wii in years. It's probably undergoing a mummification process from all that dust-collecting in my drawer.

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Lance on Sony and Microsoft Both Passed On The Wiimote's Tech: I haven't played with my Wii in years. It's probably undergoing a mummification process from all that dust-collecting in my...

Chris on Sony and Microsoft Both Passed On The Wiimote's Tech: I remember when I pre-ordered the Wii. I had no real interest in it, but the cute boy behind the...

Daniel K on Sony and Microsoft Both Passed On The Wiimote's Tech: Thanks for the link to the CVG article; it was certainly a good read. It is indeed weird to think...

Bill on Sony and Microsoft Both Passed On The Wiimote's Tech: I love all 3, WII, 360 & PS3. But I still have a special love for Nintendo & probably always...

Keith on Sony and Microsoft Both Passed On The Wiimote's Tech: Does it bug anyone else when they see people call it a "wiimote?" It's called the Wii Remote. Two words....

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