The short story is that this guy named Tom Quinn had a company called Gyration that did motion control stuff. He pitched it to both Microsoft and Sony personally, and apparently got shot down by both... hard. Nintendo bought a stake in his company, used the tech on the Wii, and the rest is history.
"Through my business connections, the first games person I got in touch with was Steve Ballmer," he says.
"I pitched this motion control device to him and he loved it. He set me up with the Xbox team in Redmond [Washington] for a second pitch and I remember how incredibly excited I was about it. Things were happening so fast.
"But the meeting went terribly. The attitude I got from them was that if they wanted to do motion control, they would do it themselves and make a better job of it. I mean, they were just rude. In fact, the meeting went so terribly that one of the executives came over to me afterwards and apologised on behalf of others. I remember him saying how this was not how Microsoft should be engaging with potential partners."
"I'll never forget that meeting at Sony," Quinn says. "We were in a tiny little room with a big PC projector and Kutaragi comes in, introduces himself, sits down and - I swear this is true - he closed his eyes the moment I started showing my pitch. He never opened them until I had finished.
"It was awkward, very awkward, but I still asked him for feedback and he said, 'well, can you produce this for 50 cents?' I laughed and explained that would be impossible, so again I left empty handed and, to be honest, that time it got to me. I felt pretty let down. You have to remember that Sony and Microsoft were by far the two biggest console manufacturers. Nintendo wasn't doing well and we hadn't thought much about them."
I wonder how they feel about it now? Or does it even matter? They still got into the motion game eventually, and momentum shifts all the time.
It's not just the tech that made the Wii successful. Nintendo made software specifically for it and it became the focus of the console. Sony and MS just were never going to look at it that way. It would have probably been relegated to a niche accessory with them. So I would think they definitely have regrets as it gave rise to their biggest competition but I don't think it's like they are kicking themselves for missing the opportunity as they would have never had something comparable to what Nintendo had.
Hmm, I think I mostly agree, but the other side of it is "Nintendo wouldn't have had it", which would probably have made this last generation look a lot different in a lot of ways, mostly beneficial to Microsoft and Sony. Although maybe Nintendo would have done motion on their own anyway. But it kind of sounds like this guy was pretty key in making it happen.
@NinSage I'm not sure if it is quite that straightforward, I mean, Nintendo had messed around with motion stuff before the Wii (as did Sony.) And it is unclear from this article what the original concept was compared to the final product. But it does sound like Gyration played a pretty important role.
That's his regular profile picture. You'll get accustomed to it.
I actually read this before you posted it here. Interesting read, especially from Sony's point of view. Half a dollar to produce it? Wow. I guess you have to cut costs somewhere when the PS3 was so expensive at launch...