April 19, 2021

This 1999 Interview Suggests Miyamoto Was Thinking About The Wii During The N64 Era


Wii LifestyleWii Lifestyle© Nintendo

Nintendo is a company that famously doesn’t play by the rules. During its time in the video game arena, the Kyoto firm has been a trend-setter rather than a follower of fashion, and no machine sums up this unique approach more clearly than the Wii.

Released at a time when Sony and Microsoft were engaged in a full-blown hardware war, the Wii was remarkable in that it harnessed cheaper tech and fused it with a revolutionary motion-sensing control system – a setup which allowed it to beat both the PS3 and Xbox 360 in total sales and reach a whole new audience of players.

It would seem that Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto was mulling over such a project long before the Wii’s 2006 release date. Speaking to Gamers’ Republic magazine in November 1999, Miyamoto was asked what he believed would be the “next step in player interaction” and how much longer he thought games could just be about “people simply moving little sticks around and pressing buttons”.

Miyamoto replied:

I think that’s a good an important point. Games are intended for everybody to enjoy. However, looking at the current game market, games are becoming unfriendly for beginners. It is important to keep creating something new for everybody, not just for hardcore gamers. The role of Nintendo is to provide new entertainment for everybody. Although it is in fact a part of Nintendo’s responsibility to also provide new games to those hardcore gamers, we should instead always think about new entertainment possibilities for everybody.

We already know that Nintendo was experimenting with Wii-style control interfaces during the GameCube period, but these comments – as vague as they are – suggest that the idea for an interface that could be picked up and used by anyone was already fermenting in Miyamoyo’s brain as early as 1999.

While you could argue that the Wii was a blip rather than a full-blown revolution, motion control remains a part of Nintendo’s offering, with the Switch Joy-Con replicating a similar control option.


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