A Little Wii Backstory


Tom Quinn

CVG have a great article about the story of the Wii. The whole thing is definitely worth reading, but I found this particularly interesting.

Tom Quinn (above) is the man who invented the technology in your Wiimote today. He invented it for aeronautical reasons, as a method of auto-stabilising his aircraft, long before he pitched it as a gaming tool to Nintendo in 2001.

Quinn actually aproached both Microsoft and Sony before Nintendo, whom he considered his last hope. Despite Ballmer’s initial enthusiasm for the idea, in a meeting with the XBox team later, Quinn was torn to pieces, “They were just rude.” The team said that, if they wanted to do motion control, they’d do it themselves, but better.

Next Quinn went to Sony’s Ken Kataragi, no less, who is largely responsible for the Playstations, just one and two at the time, but was met once again with a bitter dismissal:

“I swear this is true – he closed his eyes the moment I started showing my pitch. He never opened them until I had finished”

Says Quinn to CVG. In the end Kataragi replied:

well, can you produce this for 50 cents?”

To which Quinn laughed and told Kataragi it wasn’t possible. Moving on, then…

It was 2001 and with Nintendo flagging, the GameCube’s market position falling ever faster, they were Quinn’s last hope. Luckily for them both, and of course us, Nintendo immediately bought a stake in Quinn’s company, along with worldwide rights to the technology. The Wii came along in 2006, five years later, and we all know what happened there…

Interesting to think about just before the launch of the Wii U, nearly six years on from the Wii’s stunning debut, along with both Microsoft and Sony having eaten their words a few years ago. A link to the article is embedded at the top, and I recommend reading it.

Indie games obsessive and compulsive writer. Enjoys reading, thinking, programming, writing..... Gaming. Milo is currently a full time student but would love to move into a career doing these things someday.