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Microsoft Offered To Buy Nintendo At One Point; The Big N “Laughed Their Asses Off”

While we’re speculating whether Microsoft and Xbox are planning on making billion-dollar acquisitions of giant video game-making companies, we should look back at one of their major attempts back in 2000.

According to a Bloomberg report on Xbox, Microsoft once proposed buying Nintendo in order to lock in its first-party games for the Xbox. Nintendo basically declined the offer and laughed it off.

Former Microsoft director of third-party relations for Xbox Kevin Bachus & former head of Xbox business development Bob McBreen talked about the experience:

“Steve [Ballmer, Microsoft’s former 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. 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.”

At the time, Nintendo was working on the GameCube and was betting on that purple lunchbox. It didn’t pan out as expected and sold worst than the SNES. While Nintendo found success after that particular generation with the Nintendo DS and Wii, the early 2000s weren’t kind to the big N and was dominated by PlayStation and Xbox. Hindsight, eh?

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