Microsoft “completely discounted Nintendo” when launching Xbox 360

shigeru-miyamoto-e3-2006

When Microsoft were finalising their plans surrounding Xbox 360’s launch, they had been so focused on defeating Sony’s PlayStation 3 that they had mistakenly “completely discounted Nintendo.”

That’s according to former Microsoft executive Peter Moore – now at Electronic Arts – who shared that they saw GameCube as such “a disaster” that they didn’t believe that Nintendo would pose a threat.

They had wargamed their launch plans, where Moore had pretended to be Sony Computer Entertainment’s Ken Kutaragi. But they hadn’t factored in that Nintendo’s Wii would captivate consumers worldwide to outpace both Microsoft and Sony’s systems.

“I also then remember the E3 when, God bless, Kaz Hirai and Jack Tretton announced $599, and we were all back stage like ‘Woohoo!’,” Moore shared in IGN’s Podcast Unlocked. “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.”

He continued, “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.”

Spencer added, “…and they destroyed both of us!”

Moore continued, “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.”

Alex Seedhouse
After starting out with a Yellow Game Boy and a copy of Donkey Kong Land, Alex once hid in his room to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time one Christmas. Now he shares his thoughts on Nintendo Insider, keeping track of everything to do with Nintendo.