Bill Gates put a lot of pressure on Xbox leaders to respond to the success of Nintendo Wii, according to a new documentary
Over the past weekend, Power On: The Story of Xbox debuted as a six-part documentary series on YouTube. In episode five, which primarily explores the infamous “red ring of death” with the Xbox 360, Xbox leaders recall how Bill Gates wanted to respond to the unprecedented success of the Nintendo Wii in 2006.
“I remember. Bill Gates putting a lot of pressure on the Xbox leadership team, ‘how did we miss motion gaming, what can we do to catch up?'” recalls current Xbox boss Phil Spencer. In the words of former Xbox leader Shannon Loftis, the Nintendo Wii turned “the world upside down”.
The Kinect may seem from these comments to be a direct response to the Wii, but it turns out that Xbox was already doing its own research into “motion gaming”. Experimenting with player mapping using depth sensors and RBG cameras was already underway at Xbox at the time of Wii’s launch, but the historic launch of the Nintendo console was merely a catalyst for the Kinect launch.
Looking back at things now, history is not particularly kind to the Kinect. Although it launched to 10 million sales in the first 60 days, according to the Xbox documentary, the device would eventually be discontinued during the later years of Xbox One, and the Kinect ports on the console would even be removed from later models.