Reggie Fils-Aime: The WiiMote Is The Most Significant Gaming Innovation In The Last Decade

Reggie Fils-Aime: The WiiMote Is The Most Significant Gaming Innovation In The Last Decade

In an interview with Siliconera, Reggie Fils-Aime, the President of Nintendo Of America was asked what he thought the most significant innovation in gaming was in the last decade. He responded by saying the WiiMote.

But of course he’d say that, right?

“It’s gotta be the WiiMote,” said Reggie. “The WiiMote introduced a completely new style of play that arguably set an industry standard for motion controls, and let the consumer experience games in an entirely new way.”

But later in the interview he also paid kudos to the Nintendo DS for being the first device to use a touch screen for gaming. In my own humble opinion, considering where we are now, the DS touch screen may have been a more acceptable answer.

“So here’s what’s interesting,” he added. “The question that you asked me is “what was the single biggest innovation in the video game industry in the past decade?” if you would have asked the question differently, during my tenure, what was the gaming system that arguably has redefined the industry, I would’ve said the [Nintendo] DS. Because if you think about it, it was the first system that had a touch screen, a built in microphone—and the types of games that that enabled? You know, in many ways, it’s the forefront of what’s happening now with mobile and touch and things of that nature.”

I would agree with that. In fact if you were to ask me what the greatest innovation in gaming over the last decade was, I’d say it was the move towards touch screens. It has legitimately changed everything and it’s here to stay, unlike motion control, which feels more like a gimmick that has died a death.

I will, however, be interested to see precisely how motion control will be added to virtual reality when devices like the Oculus Rift become more mainstream. Perhaps at that point we’ll see something more concrete and usable in that realm.

Nintendo’s Reggie Talks Wii U, Western Development And Operation Rainfall [Siliconera]


  • Maybe up until the introduction of the Gamepad.

    Off-screen play is the best invention I never knew I needed.

      • It may just be me, but I have real difficulty judging distances and angles weekend in playing off-screen. Plus it’s so pretty and shiny on my telly.

    • It’s pretty sad if that’s the case.

      I love my wireless controllers, but the idea the best innovation in the past 10 years was removing an obviously annoying cord would be kinda depressing.

      • It laid the ground work though. Things like the Wiimote wouldn’t have been possible if it was wired. I think in terms of importance, wireless controllers are higher than motion sensing on the chart, even though it’s an older and perhaps more obvious development.

    • Wavebird = 2002. Previously nintendo also released IR controllers. So just outside a decade.

      • Didn’t know about that one, interesting. Hmm, I’d say it’s still close enough to count, but I also like foggy’s XBLA example below too.

        • Yeah. Got to admit (even having been a PC player in days of yore) Live absolutely redefined my gaming.

          • Can you explain what live offers? I’ve not quite gotten it. It always felt to me like having to pay a premium to use a built-in function of the console.

          • Accessability. Stability. Community. It was an easy way to play with others for the masses. Regardless of price or the previous ability to do so on P.C. etc. It was mass produced multi-player that pretty much became THE standard. Live gave me achievement s and gamerpoints – an interchangeable avatar and instant voice/text communication in a party. Everyone playing different games in different places but hanging out online. Not saying it was the first service to do so but for me it changed my gaming perceptions.

  • Given the fact that motion gaming is all but dead now, I’d question the significance of it. It made a bit of money, but it was essentially a fad that has now passed rather than something which made a long term, lasting impact.

    The touch screen answer seems better given the ongoing popularity of phones and tablets which, unlike motion control, don’t look like they’ll be falling out of favour any time soon.

  • I’d have to agree with Reggie, particularly because it was for the most part a genuine, industry changing innovation and it did come from almost nowhere.
    While people had bandied around the idea of motion controlled gaming prior to the Wii, none of the devices really took off.
    To come out with that whacky wand and have it be a HUGE success (even if gamers though it was lame) that would go on to be aped by both Microsoft and (damn near downright stolen) by Sony was pretty nuts.

    Gamers might say its on the wane but really, gamers NEVER really got into motion gaming. Also it doesn’t have to be the defining innovation of the next decade to have been the most significant of the last.

    Also, it won’t be the Oculus Rift that’s getting more mainstream unless they change the name.

    It sounds like something a 35 year old virgin would bust out during a game of Dungeons and Dragons and looks about the same.
    It’s not to say it isn’t a cool device, just that if it had a more normal, mainstream, generic electronics product name (If it was called the Sony iView or something dull like that) regular people might have more interest in it.

    I don’t think you need a marketing degree to realise that a lot of people would have some hesitation to tell a girl they were going home to play with their Oculus Rift, let along convince them they want one.

    • If an innovation doesn’t go anywhere – and motion gaming is pretty much dead now – then it’s a fad.

      • The WiiMote put 100,300,000 gaming machines in homes worldwide. It made Nintendo billions and put them back on the map as a major player in the console race.

        It WAS an innovation and it WAS significant. Just because we aren’t likely to see as much ‘waggle’ in this new generation doesn’t mean the gaming landscape hasn’t been changed tremendously by the WiiMote.

        While I think there’s a good argument that the whole ‘waggle’ thing was a fad, there’s no doubt plenty of companies saw the public’s enthusiasm for motion controlled gaming and got on the bandwagon with their own iterations.

        Like it or not in its current form, technologies like Kinect or even the Oculus Rift are here to stay, we are going to see refined voice and motion control as very intuitive ways of controlling games and other media over the next decade. The WiiMote was the first time a major gaming company stepped away from the traditional controller and had a major success. When we look back on the lineage of those products it’s going to be very difficult to pretend the WiiMote didn’t play some role..

        • It sold a lot, sure. But so did Cabbage Patch Kids and Furbies. I’ll grant that yes, it was an innovation that caught the zeitgeist, but calling it the most significant innovation is going to far in my view. The fact that it really isn’t a thing now (and even Nintendo has all but abandoned it) indicates it was more an evolutionary offshoot than anything else.
          It may be that I’m viewing ‘innovation’ as meaning it has lasting impact. He kind of makes that point when he goes on to talk about the touchscreen on the DS.

  • Also they should ask someone from Sony the same question.

    “Remember that time we added a button to the PS1 controller? Holy shit that was epic!”
    Maybe they’ve vote for the PS3 Batarang Controller…

    Microsoft would probably argue that it was Xbox Live which might be a decent argument.
    I know the Master-Race types will argue that PC gaming have always had those kind of things, but being the first console to whack in a decent sized hard drive and develop a persistent online community (not to mention the way XBL Arcade opened the door for all those great downloadable titles) has been a massive change to the way gaming is enjoyed.

    • XBL and XBLA are both compelling arguments, yeah. I’m inclined to think XBLA was probably one of the most significant changes in console gaming’s landscape, but gaming as a whole? Hard to say. Good argument though.

  • Hahaha, the Wiimote that is now totally redundant and forgotten. Suuuuuuuuuure Reggie.

    I’d say it’s the development and growth of online world’s in games. It used to be(still is a lot of the time) all about you spawn in the small map, shoot each other for a while then repeat. Stuff like borderlands, Destiny, the Division and of course all the mmo’s are prime examples of Environments that are changed and moulded by the players. Minecraft too, doing user generated content the right way.

  • Motion control will become important again with the rift, but yeah, touchscreens would have to be the biggest game-changer of the last ten years.

  • I’d agree touchscreen gaming has been a massive innovation (certainly more then the Wiimote/motion controls) but I’d hardly credit the DS for it. I had Pocket PC’s and touchscreen phones years before the DS ever existed.
    Even if he’s just trying to claim the DS ‘popularised’ it, I’d argue the iPod/iPhone did that.

    • What notable and universally popular games did your pre-2004 Pocket PC and touchscreen phones have? My phone pre-2004 had naught but Snake and Solitaire, as I recall. Hardly Earth shattering.

      The DS unquestionably popularised touch screen gaming. 154 million units isn’t exactly a flash in the pan, and 2004 was a long time before any iPod with decent games on it.

  • He’s biased as hell, but that doesn’t make him wrong. Either the touchscreen or the wiimote.

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