Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently appeared on the Crackle documentary series Playing With Power: The Nintendo Story along with other guest contributors including former Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell and EA founder Trip Hawkins. Mr. Spencer talks about how Nintendo’s unique systems and their stellar games have influenced him over the years and says that the whole Xbox team admires the Kyoto-based company:
Phil on Nintendo in general:
“The role that Nintendo has played in making gaming a safe and inviting family experience, while also bringing core game experiences to their platform, I think has been foundational to the industry that we have today,” he says.
“I don’t think you can decouple the video game industry from Nintendo, I think they’re intrinsically tied.”
“The thing that I look at is, how many people are coming into gaming because of their first experience on a Nintendo platform?
“I’ve always said that I think the health of Nintendo is something that we should cherish as an industry, and watching them grow and innovate is both great for us as an industry, but also inspiration for us at Xbox to do better.”
Talking about Wii:
“I remember seeing it and I’ll tell you, I could have never designed the Wii… I don’t have that in me,” he says. “I don’t know if I’m not brave enough or whatever as a platform holder now to go and do something as just completely different, and to be just so all-in on a new paradigm was just amazing to see.
“It gave us a real jolt that we can’t just be great at what others are doing, we have to have to some unique things that are important for our platform, and the Wii was just a perfect example of that.”
Talking about GameCube:
“I don’t know their internal design process and how they revolve and iterate on top of what they learn, but clearly they came out of that with a lot of momentum on the next thing they did.”
“I still don’t understand the controller, just being honest,” he admits. “I guess it’s multiple controllers in one, but you needed three hands to play that!”
Trying to acquire EA & Nintendo:
“The first company we reached out to buy was EA. They said, ‘No, thanks,’ and then Nintendo,” recalled Microsoft’s then head of business development, Bob McBreen.
“Steve made us go meet with Nintendo to see if they would consider being acquired,” added Kevin Bachus, Xbox’s then director of third-party relations. “They just laughed their asses off. Like, imagine an hour of somebody just laughing at you. That was kind of how that meeting went.”