With every new piece of gaming hardware Nintendo releases come unique challenges in terms of both sales and marketing. Given the longstanding history of Nintendo and how much the landscape of the gaming industry has changed since the early days of the NES, the publisher has had to find new ways to draw audiences toward new systems. However, sometimes that can lead to disagreements. In light of new information revealed by Reggie Fils-Aime, the former president of Nintendo of America, one of the most iconic games on the Wii wasn’t intended to be a pack-in title.
For many in the gaming community, Reggie Fils-Aime, even after leaving Nintendo, has become synonymous with the publisher as a whole. In the time since he left Nintendo, Fils-Aime has done quite a lot both in and out of the gaming community, but recently, he released a book detailing various stories of his time working at the company. Though, one of the stories Fils-Aime shared in the book talked about a tense interaction between Fils-Aime and Shigeru Miyamoto.
In his new book, Disrupting the Game, Fils-Aime pushed for Wii Sports to be bundled when the console first launched, but he received pushback from both Satoru Iwata and especially Shigeru Miyamoto. While Miyamoto is known for his friendly exterior at public events, his attitude towards the idea of Wii Sports being a pack-in title was quite negative, explaining the challenges of creating this kind of fun and engaging software, even going so far as to say, “we don’t give away our software.”
It makes sense for Shigeru Miyamoto to be protective of his work, considering how difficult and time-consuming game development can often be. Thus, the idea of willfully giving away a game that Miyamoto worked on for practically free could be understandably unsavory for someone in Miyamoto’s position.
However, in the long run, having Wii Sports be bundled with Wii units was the right thing to do, considering that it gave Wii owners a solid glimpse of what the technology was capable of. Not to mention that because it came bundled with the Wii in all regions, apart from Japan, it became the highest-selling Wii game of all time by an extremely wide margin, beating out Mario Kart Wii by tens of millions of units sold.
It’s interesting how Nintendo has gone about marketing its consoles in terms of bundling games with consoles. Back during the Nintendo GameCube era, Nintendo released demo discs that allowed players access to brief portions of certain games. Nowadays, Nintendo has created console bundles for specific games, such as the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Switch bundle that featured an Animal Crossing-themed Nintendo Switch.