Xbox lead Phil Spencer isn't one to shy away from offering praise where it's due, and in a recent documentary, the Xbox leader had some praise for rival gaming platform Nintendo (via VGC).
The documentary is called "Playing With Power: The Nintendo Story," and is exclusive to U.S. streaming service Crackle. The documentary explores the rise of Nintendo as an industry staple, along with every high point and every low point in the legendary company's illustrious history.
Many industry figures offer context and their takes on Nintendo's efforts throughout the show, with Xbox lead Phil Spencer offering some choice words on Nintendo's risk-taking and ingenuity.
"The role that Nintendo has played in making gaming a safe and inviting family experience, while also bringing core game experiences to their platform, I think has been foundational to the industry that we have today. I don't think you can decouple the video game industry from Nintendo. I think they're intrinsically tied."
Phil Spencer reflects on how many gamer's first experiences are on Nintendo platforms, and how Nintendo's growth and innovation is something that should be cherished by the wider industry. Spencer specifically cites Nintendo as an inspiration for Xbox to do better, too.
Interestingly, Spencer also conceded that the Wii is something Microsoft may have deemed too risky to even attempt.
"I don't know if I'm not brave enough or whatever as a platform holder now to go and do something as just completely different, and to be just so all-in on a new paradigm was just amazing to see. [...] It gave us a real jolt that we can't just be great at what others are doing. We have to have to some unique things that are important for our platform, and the Wii was just a perfect example of that."
The Kinect could be seen as Microsoft's response to the Nintendo Wii, but it wasn't the "all-in" approach Nintendo went for, instead launching it as an optional peripheral. In fact, when Microsoft attempted to bundle Kinect with the Xbox One in 2013, the backlash was quite palpable.
Microsoft is attempting new paradigms across its business portfolio, with Microsoft Mesh as an AR-alternative to the workspace. And Project xCloud is delivering Xbox-quality games to mobile devices through Xbox Game Pass. If the power of Nintendo's IP teaches us anything, it's that Mario, Zelda, and others are so familiar and so popular, that people are always willing to experience them in new ways. Perhaps Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax, with franchises like Fallout, DOOM, and The Elder Scrolls, can deliver a similar jolt to Xbox Game Pass in the near future.