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Microsoft apparently tried to buy Nintendo 20 years ago

News site Bloomberg is reporting today that the team at Microsoft tried to purchase Kyoto-based company Nintendo. The news was revealed by Kevin Bachus who was the former director of third-party relations at Xbox. Microsoft basically wanted to sell them the pitch that their hardware wasn’t up to par and they could remedy that for them. Nintendo had the Nintendo 64 platform while Microsoft had their superior power-wise console, the original Xbox. Mr. Bachus said that the team were laughed out of the room, which says it all really. Sounds like a complete and utter disaster.

“Steve [Ballmer, ex-Microsoft CEO] 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.”

“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,” McBreen said.

“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.”

Kevin Bachus, former director of Xbox third-party relations

Source / Via

18 thoughts on “Microsoft apparently tried to buy Nintendo 20 years ago”

  1. I sort of knew about this, they were trying to partner up with all sorts of different companies at that time to get a foothold in the market with the original Xbox. Not the best way to try and partner by telling someone they’re rubbish though. Interesting that the next console Nintendo produced, the GameCube, was actually very good hardware and time has shown that apart from the odd misstep they’re fine on their own.

    1. Yeah I remember this news from way back when. I find the title ‘revealed’ to be a bit misleading. It implies it wasn’t public before. I remember a joke before about combining names or it being called the Microsoft GameCube or GameBox XCube etc.

      They had already put a foot in the door with the Dreamcast and SEGA previously.

    2. Still, it’s no secret that every piece of Nintendo hardware since the Gamecube has been significantly less powerful than the competition at the time of release. The exclusive games and the unique play styles are the only reasons for Nintendo’s continued success.

  2. Very, verrrry glad Nintendo reacted the way they did.
    I’m not a Microsoft hater, but their quality of first party games has been on a steep decline ever since Bungie left.
    And I think we all know just how far Rare has fallen since being under the Xbox banner.
    I don’t think Microsoft has the know-how for running a successful gaming division… they got a lucky break with the 360, just because they were more prepared than Sony with their hardware. That’s about it.

    1. Well I for one AM a Microsoft hater. Microsoft has no games so they acquire existing ones. I’m glad Nintendo never went through with it. Even though it doesn’t matter anymore since Microsoft is a company that can have it’s cake and eat it too. Microsoft is still in the first party race and it has not one, but two fighters in Smash. Albeit both are acquired characters.

      You know what, if Master Chief and Kratos can be in Fortnight, The console wars is probably over anyway.

  3. as someone who DID love their hardware, up until the Xbone and their current mindset with game consoles, I am glad this is the reaction they received

  4. I recall this situation, but at that time it was regarded as a rumor. I’m glad Nintendo didn’t give in, they would probably be an empty shell of what they are now.

    1. π‘΅π’Šπ’π’•π’†π’π’…π’ π‘­π’Šπ’“π’”π’• 𝑢𝒓𝒅𝒆𝒓 𝑹𝒆𝒂𝒗𝒆𝒓

      But they own Banjo and Kazooie but I’m not mad since Nintendo asked them to use those two in the Sephiroth trailer for Smash Bros.

  5. If they stayed out of Nintendo’s way & left full control of software to them while they focused on the hardware, they actually would have been unstoppable for many decades to come. Sony PlayStation could have potentially ended with the PS2. Considering how loyal Nintendo customers can be, even if the RROD was still a thing, it would have been a minor issue. Not to mention quickly forgotten once Microsoft fixed it.

    Of course, thankfully this didn’t happen. They would have eventually become the Disney of video games & look how egotistical they’ve become in the movie & television industry.

  6. π‘΅π’Šπ’π’•π’†π’π’…π’ π‘­π’Šπ’“π’”π’• 𝑢𝒓𝒅𝒆𝒓 𝑹𝒆𝒂𝒗𝒆𝒓

    Why don’t you let us take care of the hardware?’ But it didn’t work out.

    … For real…

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