What if Microsoft bought Nintendo in the run up to the original Xbox? The last 20 years of video games would look pretty different, I imagine. Well, it turns out Microsoft actually tried to make it happen.
In an oral history on the creation of the original Xbox published by Bloomberg (paywall), those involved with the console reveal they tried to use Microsoft's millions to secure Xbox exclusives, and actually met Nintendo to see if they would consider being acquired.
But, according to Kevin Bachus, former director of third-party relations, that meeting didn't go so well.
"Steve [Ballmer, ex-Microsoft 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."
Then head of business development Bob McBreen revealed that Microsoft also met with Nintendo in January 2000 to work through the details of a joint venture in which Xbox would build the hardware for Nintendo games to be played on. That one, too, didn't work out.
"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," McBreen said.
"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."
Lol. The MS/Nintendo that could've been. I think the part about "the pitch was their hardware stunk" was great lol. What do you think, SW? Are you happy this never happened? And would MS consider trying that today?