Nintendo Laughed Off Acquisition Proposal Made By Microsoft In The Early 2000s, Former Executives Reveals


Posted on January 7, 2021 by Nick Moreno

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When understanding the relationship between both Microsoft and Nintendo, it is fairly mutual as both illustrate to be fair competitors with each its own goals to pursue in the video game industry. In the past couple of year, the two console giants did present to be bonding closer with cross-platform play becoming the norm. This with a handful of games at the time before Sony Interactive Entertainment finally joined the party later on.

But, despite the friendly encounters the two firms faced in the last two decades, there did happen to be one instance where Microsoft attempted to mend a cordial relationship into a complete acquisition. Prior to the release of the original Xbox back in 2000, Microsoft welcomed Nintendo to its Redmond campus where the firm intended to convince Nintendo in fully acquiring the firm.

Interesting enough, former executives who spoke with Bloomberg recently relayed that the ambition was masked behind a talking point on behalf of the weak hardware being released by Nintendo entering the 21st century.

We actually had Nintendo in our building in January 2000 to work through the details of a joint venture where we gave them all the technical specs of the Xbox. The pitch was their hardware stunk, and compared to Sony PlayStation, it did. So the idea was, “Listen, you’re much better at the game portions of it with Mario and all that stuff. Why don’t you let us take care of the hardware?” But it didn’t work out.

Bob Green, Former Head of Xbox Business Development

However, Nintendo was not the only candidate for acquisition for Microsoft. In fact, the firm also pursued Midway Games, Electronic Arts, and Square prior to its merger with Enix. But, the most devastating response came from Nintendo where the team was laughed at when pitching to acquire the company. Former Microsoft director of third-party relations for Xbox said this:

“Steve [Ballmer, then Microsoft CEO at the time] made us go meet with Nintendo to see if they would consider being acquired. They just laughed their asses off. Like, imagine an hour of somebody just laughing at you. That was kind of how that meeting went.” And, of course, the encounter went off the record until this past interview with the two executives.

Previously, there were reports of Microsoft potentially acquiring Nintendo associated studio PlatinumGames. While not a first-party team, the developer is recognized for working on the platform unique Bayonetta franchise. However, studio leads clarified the claims to be inaccurate. You can read the full report by heading here.

What are you thoughts on Microsoft attempting to acquire Nintendo?

Source: Bloomberg

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