Wii Sports' Free Inclusion With Every Wii Created a Battle Within Nintendo

Wii Sports is, to this day, the fourth best-selling game of all time and apparently, Nintendo has Reggie Fils-Aimé to thank for that. Wii Sports is one of the most beloved games from Nintendo and that's largely because everyone who bought a Wii outside of Japan got a copy of the game. It was an incredibly easy way for Nintendo to showcase and communicate the purpose of the motion-controlled console, allowing everyone the opportunity to quickly grasp it by acting out various sports with the Wii remote. It's probably only on the list of the best-selling games because of how it was included with almost every console, but it's a move that likely helped the console become a massive success.

In his new book, "Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo" former Nintendo of American President Reggie Fils-Aimé discusses how he was the driving force behind bundling Wii Sports with every Wii and the tensions that created within the company. Fils-Aimé  believed in how the game highlighted the purpose of the console and encouraged group-play, prompting him to present the idea to Nintendo's global president Satoru Iwata, who was immediately resistant to the idea. Iwata stated they didn't want to give away "precious content" for free as it pushes people to buy hardware and the games will be sold over long stretches of time. Fils-Aimé stated that Wii Sports could be what Nintendo needs to break away from a niche audience and into the mass-market. After months of conversations, Iwata began to be convinced.

Ultimately, Fils-Aimé  had to convince Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario and many other classic Nintendo franchises. Miyamoto suggested a compromise by bundling Wii Play, a collection of other mini-games, but Fils-Aimé didn't see the value in it as the bundle game for the console. He instead suggested it be bundled with separate accessories. Miyamoto expressed displeasure in the idea, as he also didn't believe in giving away games and almost seemed offended at the notion, but Iwata defended Fils-Aimé's idea. After many more meetings, a compromise was made: Wii Sports would be bundled with the Wii in Western markets, but sold separately in Japan. Ultimately, the Wii sold better in the Americas and Europe. 

Now, Nintendo Switch Sports is the talk of the town, but was notably sold for $49.99 at physical retailers. The game has received solid reviews and will likely go on to sell plenty of copies. Nintendo Switch Sports players have already broken their TVs with their Joy-Cons, serving as a reminder of similar incidents when the Wii debuted.

Do you think Reggie Fils-Aimé was right to battle for Wii Sports as a free game with the Wii? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter @Cade_Onder.


[H/T Washington Post]