To the undoubted chagrin of those that yearn for a 'console war' of the type seen between Nintendo and SEGA in the '90s, the modern day big three generally share a great deal of mutual respect. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft rarely engage in squabbles, each happy to praise and talk up each other's achievements; that's no bad thing.
In any case, head of Xbox - Phil Spencer - has recently been talking to Eurogamer about the current fortunes of his company ahead of the key end-of-season period. Much talk is about exclusives and system sellers - when it was posed that top first-party exclusives don't always play a definitive role in hardware sales, with the Wii U cited as having a strong line-up but poor results on the market, Spencer said the following.
On the Wii U, I think people downplay how many units they've sold. I've got a Wii U, I think there's some great games on there. I think Splatoon's a really nice game and I don't think there's a first-party out there that has the strength of IP that Nintendo has. They're always a beacon to me when I look at what it means to build a first-party portfolio of products, they've done a great job.
For us, having exclusives, especially on the platform side as we continue to innovate, being able to have studios that push the envelope of what's possible, and partnering them with a platform and the hardware teams, I think it's a magical equation for coming up with things that aren't possible. We sit around, the Xbox leadership team, I've got Kudo, Shannon Loftis and Bonnie with Halo, the whole Xbox platform leadership team and we all think about the opportunities of moving hardware and service and content together. Really, the only way to have that in such a tight loop, I think, is to have a strong first-party portfolio to try things to push. It's not only critical from a sales perspective, but also for innovation for what our platform's about. I love sitting at that platform, and the ideas that come out of anywhere and seeing the different franchises grabbing on to something and say yeah, we should try to go do this in Forza, we should try do this in Minecraft. It's a great opportunity.
As we and many others have said in the past, the Wii U truly does have an exceptional - and growing - batch of key releases. Various factors have contributed to its relative struggles, but we suspect history will be relatively kind on the system's legacy - in terms of games, at least - in years to come.
Are you pleased to see praise for Nintendo from rivals such as Microsoft and - in the past - Sony, or would you prefer a more hostile 'console war'? This writer's happy with the former.