Former Microsoft Xbox chief Robbie Bach says that you shouldn’t count Nintendo out just because of slow Wii U sales.
Bach spoke from personal experience. 10 years ago, Microsoft was launching the Xbox 360, and Bach and co. saw their main rival as Sony and the PS4, and didn’t pay much attention to Nintendo.
A year later, Nintendo released the Wii, which took not just Microsoft by surprise, but the whole gaming world. The Wii went on to become the winner of the last console generation, and Bach learned his lesson. He said in an interview with Fortune:
“During our development of Xbox 360 we focused pretty heavily on Sony and PlayStation 3 and the Wii was a complete surprise, so the first 18 months of our launch was a real challenge.”
Microsoft didn’t pay attention to Nintendo because their previous console, the GameCube, didn’t sell well. We’ve heard this before from the current Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, who said that they didn’t consider Nintendo a competitor, but then the Wii came out and “destroyed us”.
Regarding the Wii U, Bach said that Nintendo is facing a challenge right now: they have a lot of great first party content, but they don’t have a big platform to launch them on. He said:
“You have a fabulous and amazing creative company that had incredible franchises, but doesn’t have a strong platform right now to develop for. That’s a tricky thing for them to navigate.
They’re going to have to figure out either how to expand the number of platforms that they develop for, which would be a major change and would be risky, or they have to get into a cycle where their own Nintendo platforms evolve in a way that enables their games to get better coverage.”
It will be interesting to see what direction Nintendo takes with the upcoming NX home console.
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