In 2000, Microsoft presented Nintendo with a buyout offer. The latter’s response was clear to say the least: the representatives of the Japanese company would have simply laughed at them, according to the creators of the Xbox.
In 2000, Microsoft took more and more interest in the world of video games, a world that it was about to join just a year later by launching the very first Xbox. To find a place in a field about which it does not yet know anything, the firm is trying to buy studios that have been proven. Among them, we find in particular Nintendo, already a giant in the industry at the time with its many successful consoles and games.
A reckless proposal that can be laughed at so much, today we know the two companies’ vision of video games is different. And this is precisely the reaction Nintendo had, which literally “bursts out laughing” in front of the offer, according to Kevin Bachus, a historical member of the Xbox team. “Imagine someone laughing at you for an hour. This is pretty much how the meeting went ”, he reports.
Also read: Nintendo blackmailed pirate ready to reveal 3DS ahead of time
Microsoft got laughed at by Nintendo
Despite this somewhat humiliating reaction, Bill Gates’ team does not let itself be taken down and tries all the same to develop a partnership. “We received Nintendo at our office in January 2000 to agree on the details of a partnership. We gave them the entire Xbox spec sheet. The idea was to tell them that their hardware was lagging behind Sony’s PlayStation ”.
Microsoft then declares to Nintendo that the Japanese firm is well best on the playful dimension, citing in particular the immense success of the Mario saga, that on the technical aspect of the consoles. And based on the findings, to offer them to take charge of the construction of the company’s future consoles. As we know today, the partnership has never succeeded.
Nintendo was not the only studio to receive this kind of proposal from Microsoft at the time. Negotiations also took place with EA (Star Wars Battlefront, FIFA), Midway (Mortal Kombat 4) and even Square Enix (Final Fantasy). The buyout almost took place with the latter, before finally being canceled. Since then, Microsoft and Nintendo have reconciled and have united in particular to fight against harassment in video games.