In a new interview, Nintendo director Shigeru Miyamoto has revealed new details about the design of the company's Wii console, including his revelation that, in its original design, the company's next-gen console was intended to cost under $100.
"Originally, I wanted a machine that would cost $100," said Miyamoto in a new Business Week interview
, "My idea was to spend nothing on the console technology so all the money could be spent on improving the interface and software. If we hadn't used NAND flash memory [to store data such as games and photos] and other pricey parts, we might have succeeded."
Miyamoto then spoke on the inspirations for the Wii's non-traditional design, something he said was a top priority for the new console as far back as 2001, as the GameCube was first being released.
"The consensus was that power isn't everything for a console," he added, on the original design meetings, "Too many powerful consoles can't coexist. It's like having only ferocious dinosaurs. They might fight and hasten their own extinction."
Instead, according to Wii designer Ken'ichiro Ashida, Miyamoto brought in a number of non-game controls and interfaces for the group to study, including "cell phones and car navigation remote controllers and tried them, too. We made one that resembled a cell phone. Another one had an analog stick on top and digital interface on bottom."
In the end, though, one of the biggest inspirations for the console, according to the interview, was Nintendo's own: the DS. With Ashida explaining that at one point the Wii was designed with touch-screen technology itself, Miyamoto added that the handheld "prepared the way for the Wii. The DS's unique interface had traction with nongamers. That made us think we had a shot at reaching a broader audience. But if the DS had flopped, we might have taken the Wii back to the drawing board."