The worldwide head of Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) has spoken of his surprise at the booming success of Nintendo's super-selling Wii console. Phil Harrison said that Nintendo's fresh approach to gaming had shocked the industry and that its triumphant sales figures were even more of a shock.
"Yeah, I don't remember reading anybody's analysis predicting this two years ago or even a year ago to 18 months ago, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing. We work in an entertainment business, basically, and entertainment has elements of fashion, and it has elements of the latest cool thing," Harrison said in an interview with Next-Gen.
Wii success a surprise
"If that stimulates interest in the videogame business and causes more people to play games, causes more people to go into retail stores and buy games, causes retailers to dedicate more shelf space to the category, and causes game developers and publishers to have a better macroeconomic foundation for their business, that's a win-win for everybody, best of all for the end consumer. It's a virtuous cycle."
On the success of the Xbox 360, Harrison added: "It would be churlish to try and suggest that you would wish ill on any company. As I said, if the business has got a lot of momentum and it's aggressively acquiring new users, new forms of creativity are being accepted in the marketplace and the kind of games that we can make as creators gets wider, that's a great thing from a game designer point of view, from a game creating organisation.
"That's incredibly empowering because it means that people's minds are more open to new challenges. In the 16-bit and the 8-bit era on 8-bit Nintendo and 16-bit Genesis and Nintendo, it was all about 2D platformers, some sports and that was it. And that's a pretty boring place to be."