Imagine what the gaming industry would be like if Microsoft bought Nintendo 20 years ago? We probably wouldn’t have seen the Nintendo Switch and the many games that have become hits over two decades. It turns out that this really could have happened.
In a Bloomberg article on the creation of the original Xbox, the project participants said that there was a time when Microsoft tried to use its millions of dollars to get exclusives and even met with Nintendo, considering buying the company. However, according to former director of relations Kevin Bacchus, the meeting with Nintndo did not go well. To put it mildly.
Steve [Ballmer, former Microsoft CEO] sent us to meet with Nintendo to find out their position on a potential purchase. They just made fun of us. Just imagine someone laughing at you for an hour. And so the meeting went.
Former head of business development Bob McBreen said that in January 2000, Microsoft met with Nintendo again to discuss a potential collaboration so that the Xbox would develop hardware to run Nintendo games on it. And this meeting was unsuccessful.
Nintendo representatives came to our office in January 2000. The bottom line was that their hardware was lousy compared to the PlayStation. We offered to share responsibility – you are engaged in games, Mario and others, and we are engaged in hardware. But nothing came of it.
Microsoft also went to EA and Konami to make publisher titles exclusive. But both companies refused. Microsoft also tried to buy the developers of Mortal Kombat, which also ended in failure.
Fortunately, the Xbox has gotten a lot more serious over the past two decades, although it still lags behind Nintendo in games. And Switch sales are well ahead of Xbox One. But Microsoft has learned to buy companies and even entire publishers – Bethesda.