Wii Sports took over the world back in the early 2000s thanks to its motion sports experience and the fact that every Wii owner got the game included in the purchase. Unlike its successor, Nintendo Switch Sports which is a shallow, uninspired shell in comparison, Wii Sports defined the Wii console. However, Nintendo’s plan wasn’t always to include Wii Sports with the console.
According to Reggie Fils-Aime, the former Nintendo CEO struggled to get the rest of the team onboard to package the game in console boxes. Even though the Wii managed to sell 101 million systems, Nintendo felt like they were giving away precious content for free.
In Reggie’s new book, he explains that when he initially pitched to include Wii Sports in the console box, President Satoru Iwata turned down his proposal. Shigeru Miyamoto then ended up pitching a similar idea to Reggie but it wasn’t the same game. Instead, Miyamoto-san presented an early version of Wii Play and suggested Nintendo include that in the Wii console box.
Wii Play, if you don’t remember was included in retail certain boxes of the Wii Remote. So while Miyamoto-san got his way, it wasn’t what he wanted in the first place.
Reggie says that Miyamoto-san was visibly unhappy with the decision to include Wii Sports in the console box and not Wii Play. He says it was one of the only times he saw Shigeru Miyamoto unhappy.
So now Mike [Fukuda] and I were trying to get agreement to two different bundles, and the world’s best game designer was not happy. The ever-present smile and impish squint of My Miyamoto’s eyes were gone. “Neither of you understands the challenges of creating software that people love to play. This is something we constantly push ourselves to do. We do not give away our software,” Mr. Miyamoto stated.
In the end, both Wii Play and Wii Sport being included in the console and Wii Remote packaging resulted in a successful hardware launch for Nintendo. Reggie says that even though they had some disagreements in regards to the launch titles for the Wii, there was a good bond between all the executives.
Nintendo then followed up by bundling more software with its future hardware releases. The Wii U included Nintendo Land in the Deluxe pack and the 3DS came bundled with some cool AR cards to experience the 3D feature. They also developed Streetpass for the 3DS. Sadly, Nintendo didn’t work on any pre-installed content for the Switch.