News Article

The Wii Was Born Thanks To Microsoft And Sony's Rejection

Posted by Orla Madden

And boy, does that feel good

Motion Control has quickly become an important part of how we play games today. The Wii's success has been based around this bold invention but in reality, the patent, idea and various concepts came from an independent inventor named Tom Quinn.

Nintendo bought a small stake in Quinn's company and as part of the deal were granted licenses to use Quinn's motion control technology. However, Nintendo wasn't first on the list, as Tom had initially approached Microsoft and Sony. You already know the outcome; both companies rejected the pitch.

He spoke with Steve Ballmer - CEO of Microsoft - who loved the idea. Ballmer set up a meeting with the Xbox team, and here's what happened according to Tom:

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.

Sony was no different when Tom went to discuss his ideas with 'The Father of PlayStation' Ken Kutaragi:

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.

The rest is history, as Nintendo went on to produce one of the best selling gaming consoles of all time.

[via computerandvideogames.com]

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User Comments (53)

AddADashOfSalt

#1

AddADashOfSalt said:

Intersting. I'm sure Microsoft and Sony are still beating themselves over their heads for being so stupid.

Hyperstar96

#3

Hyperstar96 said:

"he closed his eyes the moment I started showing my pitch. He never opened them until I had finished."

Actually, this is a way to show respect in Japanese culture. Is someone is saying something important, people often close their eyes so that there are no outside distractions created from sight.

True_Hero

#4

True_Hero said:

@Hyperstar96
The problem with this is, I believe that Mr. Quinn had some sort of power-point display or other type of visual, considering the article says the room had a big PC projector.

Wonder_Ideal

#5

Wonder_Ideal said:

This sounds almost like part of a movie. The guy comes up with a great new idea, but every place he goes rejects him. Finally, when all seems lost, the last place he can go accepts his idea and it becomes a revolution.

SheldonRandoms

#6

SheldonRandoms said:

But then many years later, Sony copies the Wii with the move and Microsoft makes the Kinect, which only has fitness dancing games on the commercials for it pretty much.

Ironic, isn't it?

LittleIrves

#8

LittleIrves said:

(I know the original is linked below the summary as a source, but I bet a lot of people miss it.)

ultraraichu

#9

ultraraichu said:

If this story came out 2 years earlier, microsoft and sony would be getting alot more dirty looks. I would read the full story (found in source) after work.

Edit: oh I didn't notice you reference the link too LittleIrves

Shiryu

#10

Shiryu said:

My Wii will be 6 years next December 12th. Truly I new it would be big, but I would never expected how it would get so many non-gamers playing.

The_Fox

#11

The_Fox said:

Only two companies rejected his idea? That must make him the luckiest man in the history of business.

Lalivero

#12

Lalivero said:

Fantastic story(read the whole thing) and another add to the list of twists we've had that got us to where we are now in gaming. (The whole incident with Sony and Nintendo before the PS1, etc.)

Wonder_Ideal

#13

Wonder_Ideal said:

@The_Fox I see what you're saying about him being only rejected twice. But then again, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo were the big gaming companies at that time, with Microsoft and Sony being the biggest. Being rejected by them would have been very damaging. Nintendo was Mr. Quinn's last chance at getting motion controls into a big gaming company, unless the others reconsidered.
@LittleIrves Thanks for the link to that article. It was very interesting.

AVahne

#16

AVahne said:

Funny thing, years later Microsoft brought out Kinect, which was apparently developed by a Israeli company, which was rejected by Nintendo (apparently due to costs).
Microsoft, what happened to all your BS about doing it yourself and doing it better?

LavaTwilight

#17

LavaTwilight said:

BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAA... HHHAAAAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHA HAHAHA takes a sip of tea MWAHAAAHAAHAHAHAHAAAA heeheehee

DestinyMan

#18

DestinyMan said:

What a good, ironic story. This would've made bigger waves a few years earlier, but it's better to be told now than never. It comes to show that success is not always instant that the company that ultimately seizes on a new idea and makes a commerical victory is great for those that are willing to take risks. Nintendo obviously takes the risks, but also the reward, so they took the more professional route in politely partnering with this person and getting a great success that only makes the competition thinking they should have taken the chance first.

Ren

#19

Ren said:

Very interesting. I think all of us were caught off guard with the Wii. At the time it just seemed like a tech that was too far from being good enough to be useful and fun, but the implementation was fantastic and simple. Once I saw demos I was astounded; and waiting in line.

Molotov

#20

Molotov said:

I Don't Think Sony Was Nearly As Bad As Microsoft. Maybe Ken Just Wanted To Envision The Concept; Maybe Thats His Way Of Doing It.

SpaceApe

#21

SpaceApe said:

Just shows you how mentally challenged Sony and Microsoft are when it comes to gamers.

kkslider5552000

#22

kkslider5552000 said:

so Sony was defeated by Nintendo for similar reasons to how Sony decided to make their own consoles that defeated Nintendo for a decade.

The irony is pretty beautiful I have to say.

Varia01

#25

Varia01 said:

The Wii's new motion controls is much much better than those lousy repeated controllers that Microsoft and Sony use! A game system needs to have a new type of gameplay instead of just HD, new apps, and all that stupidity. The apps and HD (OK HD maybe needed) are cool, but if they are the only new stuff on a new console, then it is not 100% Thanks to Nintendo, gamers didn't have their gaming life with just plain controllers! YEAH, rock on Nintendo!

Tricoloryoshi

#26

Tricoloryoshi said:

Wow, :o the Microsoft guys were rude, Sony not so much but still. :|
This is interesting. i heard that the guy that invented mobile phones was rejected by Atari, kinda like this guy.
Look at them now! :o

Zombie_Barioth

#27

Zombie_Barioth said:

@Hyperstar96
That may be true but Tom Quin obviously isn't Japanese and obviously isn't aware of it, you can't exactly blame someone for following a part of his culture but it does show their ignorance in assuming he wouldn't find it offensive. Someone could have informed him before hand.
I really hope Ken Kutaragi wasn't serious about the 50 cents bit, but either way.....wow.

Sony and MS must be kicking themselves for letting this go, though I wonder if they would even know how to put it to good use. Nintendo catches a lot of flak for being gimmicky but at least they know how to market them and make things fun.

Grodus

#28

Grodus said:

Uh, in yo stupid face? Well, it sucks for them. a lot. Especially since the Wii sold like mad everywhere!

Mahe

#31

Mahe said:

Fantastic article at the source link. Highly recommended reading.

DrDaisy

#33

DrDaisy said:

Cool story, but you'll never get Sony or Microsoft to admit they made a mistake. As far as they and their fanboys/fangirls are concerned, they have superior motion controls. Personally, I got a PS Move about a year or two ago and I doubt I've used it for more than thirty minutes total.

grimbldoo

#35

grimbldoo said:

And Nintendo did the same thing with Bayonetta.

@LittleIrves #7
Yay, I'm not the only one who checks out the article links.

@LordJumpMad #32
The only thing that got me mad was your misspelling of "worthless."

Taceus

#37

Taceus said:

Fantastic read. Very recommended. Way to go, Mr Atsushi Asada. Would've loved to be a fly on the wall in that meeting. Thanks @LittleIrves for the link.

zezhyrule

#39

zezhyrule said:

Oh, so nintendo isn't as innovative and creative as everyone thought. Good news indeed.

BigBabaWaba

#40

BigBabaWaba said:

Interesting how the Wii's backstory unfolded like the PSX's back in the day, when Nintendo rejected Sony's plans for a CD add-on to the SNES which would eventually become the first PSX. Food for thought in all of this.

grimbldoo

#41

grimbldoo said:

@zezhyrule #39
I would say that they are still as innovative as everyone thinks. Tom Quinn may have made the gyroscopic technology, but Nintendo was the one that implemented it into a system, not Quinn.

Zombie_Barioth

#43

Zombie_Barioth said:

@zezhyrule Its on thing to come up with a new piece of tech but another thing entirely to put it to good use and market it to consumers. Besides it not like Nintendo is the only company to use something they didn't originally make themselves.

Its always interesting reading articles like these, is amazing how a seemingly simple turn of events can cause set thing into motion and turn things around.

FyreeTSG

#44

FyreeTSG said:

this makes me LAUGH my a** off--Sony's on a potentially catastrophic downfall, and Nintendo's been raking in the dough since 2006---

Samholy

#46

Samholy said:

i loved the snes. after that, nintendo consoles were MEH. (exclude the DS and 3DS)
solely a purpose to play mario and zelda games.

ill say it again...but nintendo should do like sega. make games, but stop wasting time on consoles.

FonistofCruxis

#48

FonistofCruxis said:

Wow, it sounds like Microsoft and Sony were incredibly rude. Well, it was their loss as Nintendo had great success with the risk they took with motion controls.

TheRealThanos

#49

TheRealThanos said:

@Samholy
Although it's entirely okay to have your own opinion and stand by it, it's DEFINITELY not okay to state such things as FACTS.
The Nintendo consoles that followed the SNES weren't 'meh' at all, it's what you thought of it, big difference there, dude.
The N64 maybe didn't have as many titles as other consoles of the time but did great nonetheless and the GameCube, although arguably a 'failure' also still did decent and had quite a few titles that were generally considered to be great games, both by the public AND the press.

There's an interesting article about the presumed failure to be read here:
http://nintendo-okie.com/2011/11/18/the-opinion-herd-was-gamecube-a-failure/

And the Wii also had a great run with some exceptional titles (based on reviews, scores and critiques, not personal opinion) and has only been drying out since a few months, but may have some life in it yet because of a few possibly interesting titles still to come.

And as for Nintendo going software only?
NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN. As in NEVER.
By following similar logic, Sony should now also immediately stop 'wasting time' on consoles because they are bleeding money right and left and the Vita still isn't seen as anything even remotely close to being successful.
So maybe you should stop wasting time making silly comments, aye? ;)

But seriously, looking at the whole picture, the perspective for Nintendo is actually looking reasonably good from a market/sales point of view:
PS3/Vita combo is NOT a valid alternative to Wii U seeing as the Vita does not come packaged with the PS3 and therefore they can't make the games for that combo as a standard because not every PS3 owner has a Vita (or the other way around), and the same goes for SmartGlass from Microsoft, although they could still have a better option than Sony, because most households do have Smartphones or tablets, so they might be the better alternative of the two, if people would not want to buy a Wii U.

But at the end of the day it's both parties once again mimicking Nintendo, probably on the assumption that with motion controls they did pretty okay(ish) so the 2nd screen is now the way to go.

So, I don't think that Nintendo is doing all that bad. If that is really true, I don't know so we'll just have to wait and see what the future brings, and that's about as close to a fact as anyone can get at this point...

Hetsumani

#50

Hetsumani said:

And to think that companies pass on some awesome business for considering risky or not unworthy, like the 8 publishers who rejected the Harry Potter novels, or the developers who didn't sign with IBM and then Bill Gates did.

Supremeist

#51

Supremeist said:

Wii: Casual Gamers.
PS3 and Xbox 360: Hardcore Gamers

Without the Wii, the casual audience would be lost.

WindWakerLink

#52

WindWakerLink said:

Another plot twist in the world of gaming! It's like a really good novel with the twist and turns. This was a very good read and that extended article posted by "LittleIrves"

TheRealThanos

#53

TheRealThanos said:

@ryanthehedgehog
Not really true.
The so called 'hardcore' label is something that is totally misused nowadays.
From the days of Atari up to the 16 bit era, hardcore had NOTHING what so ever to do with first person shooters or other arguably mature games.
A TRUE hardcore gamer is a person who spends a lot of time gaming and is really good at it. And then on the opposite side is the casual gamer who, as the word 'casual' already points out, only plays a game every now and then and is of low to average skill.
With the current definition of the word hardcore, even 13 year old boys with hardly any skills can be called hardcore gamers and also see themselves as such because they play something like COD, Battlefield or God of War on one of the two 'mature' consoles.
It would be funny if it wasn't so ridiculous and tiresome...

To me there's so much inherently wrong with that, seeing as I've consciously witnessed ALL of gaming from the aforementioned Atari consoles up till now, that I can't even begin to truly describe it, so I'll stick with my explanation here.

And as for evidence that the other consoles aren't hardcore?
(looks at any game Sack Boy, Mod Nation or Avatar related)
There are more than enough casual games on there besides the mature games as well, and even Microsoft themselves lets you CHOOSE what kind of gamer you think you are when making up your profile, going by the EXACT same standards I just explained, so apparently they see it in a similar way and the wrong meaning of hardcore is generally more used by the fan-boyish gaming legions of said consoles, not making it a correct terminology by any definition, so think again...

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