Nintendo laughed in the faces of Xbox executives when they tried to buy the company


Microsoft is one of the richest and most important companies in the world and it was that way more than 20 years ago. At the beginning of the millennium, the American company was investing significant resources to have the arguments that would make Xbox a giant in the world of gaming. That said, in this period he also learned that not everything can be achieved with a ticket and that they tried to buy Nintendo, but after making their offer they only received ridicule.

Bloomberg recently published a lengthy and interesting article focusing on Xbox’s rise as a giant in the gaming industry. To do so, they spoke with several of the executives who worked in the brand, who told them about many of the strategies, plans, and ideas they had to conquer this market.

One of the problems that Microsoft executives were looking to solve was the absence of exclusive games for Xbox and they thought that the best way to do it was to buy from a company that was an expert in video games development. They first tried Electronic Arts, who refused Microsoft’s idea. Faced with this rejection, they contacted Nintendo and even met with them to discuss the matter.

Unfortunately for Xbox executives, the meeting was far from what they dreamed of. Instead of a cordial talk about the possibilities of closing a deal, they only became the cause of laughter from Nintendo members.

“Steve [Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft] had us meet with Nintendo to see if they would consider being acquired. They just laughed out loud. Imagine an hour of someone just laughing at you. That’s how the meeting went, ”

explained Kevin Bacchus, Xbox’s former director of third-party studio relations.


With this, it must have been very clear to Microsoft that Nintendo was not willing to be acquired. So why not make an alliance that allows both of them to succeed as independent companies? After all, both Microsoft and Nintendo had different strengths and together they could become a titan.

This is why, in January 2000, Microsoft invited Nintendo to its offices to propose an alliance. The idea is that they made the hardware to deliver something more powerful than what Sony had with the PlayStation, while Nintendo would take advantage of the console with its franchises and talent for making games. It seemed like a tough offer to refuse, but the Japanese company didn’t love the idea either, and the rest is history.

“We actually had Nintendo in our building in January 2000 to discuss details about a joint project where we gave him the technical specifications for Xbox,” said Bob McBreen, former head of business development at Microsoft. “The proposition was that its hardware sucked and it did so compared to Sony’s PlayStation. So the idea was, ‘Look, you guys are much better at the Mario games part and stuff. Why don’t they let us take care of the hardware? ‘ But it does not work”.

And to you, what did you think of this anecdote? Can you imagine what the industry would be like if Xbox and Nintendo had teamed up?