According to legend, Microsoft tried to buy Nintendo while it was preparing to enter the console market. And once the legend was true. Things didn’t go very far, however, and new statements from key stakeholders tell us more about the situation more than twenty years later.
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The American side Bloomberg just published a long article telling the story of the creation of the first Xbox based on testimonials from many gamers of the time. Those players include Kevin Bachus, then director of third-party publisher relationships, Bob McBreen, business development manager, and Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO from 2000 to 2014.
And during this story it becomes clear that Microsoft has tried several times to associate Nintendo. While we apparently know that things didn’t go as Microsoft hoped, these statements contain revelations about several encounters between Japanese and American gloves in the early 2000s:
Kevin Bachus: Steve (Ballmer) took us to Nintendo to see if they would consider redeeming it. And they just laughed out loud. Imagine someone laughing at you for an hour. It’s a bit like this meeting took place.
Bob Mcbreen: We brought Nintendo to our house in January 2000 to work on the details of a partnership for which we would give them the Xbox technical specifications. Our bad luck was that their hardware sucks compared to Sony’s PlayStation. And it was. So the idea was to tell them, “Look, you’re much stronger in the game part of the Mario thing and all that stuff there. Why don’t we get the hardware done?” But it didn’t happen.
Steve Ballmer: I remember loving your content. Even if Nintendo was not as powerful then as it is today, the Kyoto maker was never interested in a takeover. While Microsoft and Nintendo are still rivals, they’re partners too (Xbox games on Switch, Banjo & Kazooie in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, cross-platform multiplayer, etc.). And one can wonder what the video game industry would be like if Microsoft had won the day.
What do these anecdotes inspire you? What would Nintendo have become if you thought Microsoft had bought it? Could a Microsoft Hardware-Nintendo Software partnership have been beneficial? Tell us everything in the comments below.