Sony and Microsoft Could Have Killed the Wii Long Before It Would Save NintendoS

The midnight launch of the Wii U is a perfect time to reflect on the craze, six years ago, surrounding its predecessor, and the industry-transforming success of the Wii. And there really is no finer story you could read about that than what Rob Crossley has written for CVG.

Microsoft and Sony both had their shots at acquiring the motion control technology that would make their consoles second- and-third place to Nintendo. Had either done so, it could have been the end of console making for Nintendo, whose GameCube was in dire straits.

By 2001, the man whose patents would form the workings of the Wii Remote had sat through two humiliating presentations to dismissive Sony and Microsoft executives. So when Nintendo's executives started arguing in Japanese in front of him, he thought he would take strike three.

"And then, in the middle of this debate that was getting louder and louder, [Nintendo chairman Atsushi] Asada barked something and there was total silence," said the inventor, Tom Quinn, in his first interview on the Wii. Asada decided unilaterally to buy Quinn's technology and a stake in his business.

Crossley weaves together an outstanding narrative, laying out all the forces and personalities in play, and everything at stake as Nintendo mounted its unlikely comeback on the Wii. In addition to getting Quinn, Crossley also gets valuable insight on Nintendo's internal deliberations from George Harrison, the former head of corporate communications for Nintendo of America. The story portrays an old, proud company determined to regain its No. 1 status, yet cunning enough to try things completely different in order to get there, in the face of others vehement doubts.

Whether you're getting a Wii U or playing something else tomorrow, go read it. It captures a momentous time in video gaming history.

(Top photo | Getty)

Revolution: The Story of Wii [CVG]