Recently, IGN had an Xbox podcast with the head of heads of Xbox. Xbox creator Seamus Blackley, Head of Xbox during the 360 launch Peter Moore, and current Head of Xbox Phil Spencer had a conversation for 90 minutes about some of the ups and downs of Microsoft’s 14 years of Xbox consoles. During the discussion, Peter Moore and Phil Spencer discuss how they saw Nintendo as a dying horse after the Gamecube’s depressing hardware sales.
Peter Moore: I also then remember the E3 when, God bless, Kaz Hirai and Jack Tretton announced $599 (for the PS3), and we were all back stage like ‘Woohoo!” We knew then we had an opportunity to get ahead, drive ahead, get our games out quickly and get that lead. And I always said that the first to 10 million wins.
It was one of the greatest times of my career. You had to build a team, because we were growing then. We had prematurely put the Xbox to sleep, we needed to get ready for this and we knew what we needed to do. We had a three-day meeting at the Sheraton in Bellevue where we wargamed the scenario, and I actually played Ken Kutaragi. And we brought in a consultancy, it was a lot of fun. And the one thing we’d forgotten about, I don’t know if you remember this Phil [Spencer], we completely discounted Nintendo. Because they came off the GameCube and it was a disaster.
Phil Spencer: …and they destroyed both of us!
Peter Moore: Yes, with the Wii. But we wargamed for three days, what are you going to do, what do the launch titles look like, what are the marketing budgets, what is the positioning? And it was a fascinating experience which I’ll never forget. And this is a decade ago. And I actually played Ken, and my job was to destroy the launch of the Xbox 360.
While Peter Moore and Phil Spencer were definitely wrong to do that, with the Wii eventually selling over 100 million consoles worldwide, it’s interesting to hear about the console’s beginnings. If you want to listen to more of the podcast, you can listen to it here.