Nintendo is considered by the majority of folks in the gaming world to be the reason why there even is a gaming industry today. While the company seems to be ostracized a lot these days, it was not long ago when seen as a massive juggernaut and a force to be reckoned with. But, its throne was challenged. SEGA was the first to step-up to the plate; during the early 90s, it created the first great ‘console war’ which was battled out for the majority of the decade. In the second half, Sony arose with the original PlayStation. Ironically, it was actually Nintendo who created PlayStation.
Sony and Nintendo were originally working on a joint-project, which was dubbed the ‘Nintendo PlayStation’. It was a system that could play CDs and was also compatible with SNES cartridges. When the two companies couldn’t come to an agreement as to how the profits would be split, Nintendo backed out of the project at the last minute and defaulted to a secret project that was being conducted with Philips, which became the infamous CDi. Infuriated by Nintendo’s ‘betrayal’, Sony then took the original system and transformed it into the Sony PlayStation. Thus, Nintendo’s biggest rival was born. Sony has been in the console business for the past four generations, and it has dominated three of them. The PlayStation family has pushed Nintendo far from the top-spot in the home console arena, pretty much becoming the face of consoles. But that wasn’t the case just a few years ago.
After the GameCube took the bottom position of the 6th-generation console race, many were unsure how Nintendo would fare. Both Sony and Microsoft were poised to deliver powerful systems with a slew of new features, but Nintendo had something else in mind. Originally dubbed the ‘Revolution’, the Wii came in and took the world by storm. Its unorthodox design and humble hardware made it seem like a joke compared to the competition, but its launch ended up being the most successful that Nintendo has ever had. In fact, there were supply shortages for a number of months after launch. Many did not see the Wii’s success coming, and one of those folks was former Sony executive Jack Tretton.
Tretton was a part of Sony for about two decades and was the CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America during the time of the Wii. The company was enjoying the mega-success of the PS2 at that time, so it’s fair to say that they probably weren’t too concerned by either Microsoft’s or Nintendo’s offerings. We all know how it turned out. Here’s what he had to say about Nintendo and the Wii in a recent interview with IGN:
“I think this industry wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for Nintendo, so everybody respects the fact that they had such a hand in building this great industry that we’ve all been able to work in, but from generation to generation, you never knew what you would get with Nintendo. You just knew that you couldn’t count them out. And I think everyone discounted the Wii initially, and it really took the world by storm. I’d say there were a lot more people in the surprise camp then there were in the ‘I told you so’ camp. Maybe a few people at Nintendo, but the vast majority were skeptical when that came out.”