IGN has uploaded an extremely interesting podcast which quizzes Xbox creator Seamus Blackley, Head of Xbox during the 360 launch Peter Moore, and current Head of Xbox Phil Spencer, to share the backstory to the launch of three Xbox consoles. During the podcast it was revealed that when Microsoft was launching the Xbox 360 they completely discounted Nintendo and were focussed at beating Sony with the PlayStation 3. The reason why was that the GameCube wasn’t a success for Nintendo so they didn’t believe the company posed a threat to their plans. However, Phil Spencer conceded that the Wii destroyed both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 with regards to sales. Here’s what the key figures at Xbox had to say.
“I also then remember the E3 when, God bless, Kaz Hirai and Jack Tretton announced $599, and we were all back stage like ‘Woohoo!’,” Moore shared in IGN’s Podcast Unlocked. “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.”
He continued, “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.”
Spencer added, “…and they destroyed both of us!”
Moore continued, “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.”