Bill Gates has become a bit of a gamer in his old age, it would appear. The former head of Microsoft may no longer actually be leading one of the biggest tech companies of all time, but he’s still at the cutting edge as a prominent thought leader, often posting about his philanthropic work and his experience with various types of modern media, not least of which are video games.
Gates stepped down from his Microsoft position back in 2020, but his work at the company meant that he had already attained a considerable following from all walks of life, which helped build an audience of his blogs and social media platforms, where he’s been active for a long while now. In one such post, Gates has been discussing a new book he’s been reading, which opened his eyes to the realities of gaming.
According to his new Gates Notes blog post, Gates now considers himself a bit of a gamer due to a new book. “I never thought I’d relate to a book about gaming,” he said, “but I loved Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow.” The former Microsoft chief talked about his experiences playing old arcade titles and Tetris, in particular, and how he never really thought of himself as a gamer because he doesn’t “spend hundreds of hours” learning the ins and outs of a single video game. Yet, the Zevin novel made Gates think about how the industry has become much more inclusive over time, and how it may be fair for him to qualify himself as a gamer, too.
Gates’ reflection on Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow mainly focuses on the protagonists’ bonding and partnership amidst trouble, but the novel often makes references to Super Mario Bros and Oregon Trail to drive its points home, and this helped Gates recontextualize the industry from a different point of view. Specifically, Gates says that gaming has become a “terrific metaphor for human connection.” Gates admitted to being addicted to Wordle in the past, so it’s quite curious to hear such a take from him.
Though the story behind Bill Gates and Xbox is quite long and complex, the man himself simply didn’t identify as a gamer for the longest time. One of the main reasons why there is an Xbox in the first place is that Gates was informed of Sony’s immense success with the Playstation consoles, and wanted Microsoft to come up with a viable competitor.
It wasn’t all good news, of course. Gates infamously pressured Xbox to compete with Wii, too, the result of which would be the Kinect devices. These, of course, ended up going nowhere over a longer period of time, and serve as a stark reminder that Microsoft’s gaming division had a rather long period of floundering before finding its footing anew with newer consoles.
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Source: The Gates Notes