Former Nintendo Boss Reggie Fils-Aime Talks “Console Wars” In Gaming

Retired gaming executive Reggie Fils-Aime, who led Nintendo of America for 15 years before announcing his retirement, has shared his thoughts on the idea of “console wars” in gaming. In an interview with GamerTag Radio, Fils-Aime said that while gaming is a massive business in terms of the money it brings in, the leadership is actually a small group of executives who are on friendly terms, even if they are competitive in the context of business.

Fils-Aime pointed out that the leaders from major game companies come together quarterly to meet with the Entertainment Software Association–the group that organizes E3 and represents the video game industry’s interests in Washington, D.C.–to discuss what’s best for gaming.

“As executives, we share a meal, as executives we may have the need to be on a phone call with each other, talking about industry-related issues,” he said. “So while the fans see the [air quotes] console wars. The battle. Look, make no mistake, every single executive wants to win. Every single executive wants to drive their business. But the fact of the matter is, it’s a very small industry.”

Fils-Aime said he understands why people might believe in the idea of console wars, and he hopes there are further opportunities in the future to dispel this. Fils-Aime was joined on stage at The Game Awards in 2018 by Xbox boss Phil Spencer and then-PlayStation head Shawn Layden to demonstrate a sense of unity among competitors, and he hopes there can be more events like this in the future.

“I wish there were more public opportunities to show the unity of the industry,” Fils-Aime said.

Fils-Aime is not alone in calling for the end to the idea of a console war. Spencer, the head of Xbox, has said he rejects the idea of a console war and has called for greater unity.

“I do know there are parts of the community that wish we were more aggressive in being competitive with each other. I think competition between us, from an innovation and business model and value standpoint, makes a ton of sense,” Spencer said. “Competition at a human level or a punitive level, I find isn’t really part of how we continue gaming’s growth. There’s much more to be gained by us at least having a joint point of view on issues that are important to gaming.”

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