Microsoft boss Bill Gates pushed the Xbox team to respond to the success of the Wii with their own motion control system, which became the Kinect.
The launch of Nintendo Wii was a before and an after in the digital entertainment industry. Like Nintendo DS two years before, it opened the doors to new generations of gamers, but this time gathered around television, playing with motion controls that while they weren’t new, they were now more accessible and fun than ever.
The Sony and Microsoft consoles of that time were betting on power and increasingly adult and dark games, but they did not sit idly by the revolution in motion control games, almost always aimed at a casual audience.
Y Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and president of technology during the early years of the twentieth century, put a lot of pressure on the Microsoft team to respond to the success of the Wii.
They explain it in the new documentary series Power On, in Chapter 5 (which also talks about the Red Lights of Death) (via Games Radar). “The Wii shook the world,” says Shannon Loftis, a former Xbox manager.
Phil Spencer, the current head of Xbox, recalls “Bill putting a lot of pressure on the Xbox management team, ‘How could we lose the motion controls, how can we re-engage?’”
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Everyone will agree that Microsoft’s answer to Wii was Kinect, which came out in 2010, at the same time as Sony’s answer, PlayStation Move. Neither caught on, but the Kinect was the most innovative and ambitious, and according to Spencer, one of Xbox’s greatest contributions to the industry.
However, the documentary reveals that Xbox had been researching player motion capture using infrared sensors for some time, and Wii was more of a catalyst for those experiments on a particular product.
Kinect sold 10 million units in its first two months on sale, but it ended up disappearing a few years later, after a failed attempt to continue it with Xbox One.
However, Spencer says the Kinect was in turn a catalyst for Xbox’s future advancements in making video games accessible to all gamers, saying they received very emotional emails from parents whose children hadn’t been able to play games until Kinect came along.
This article was published in Hobby Consolas by Javier Escribano.