A retrospective on the launch of the Xbox console has revealed that Microsoft attempted to buy both EA and Nintendo before the company launched the original Xbox back in 2000.
The information comes by way of a recent Bloomberg article that interviewed various executives past and present on the history of Xbox including former director of third-party relations Kevin Bachus and head of Business Development Bob McBreen, who said “The first company we reached out to buy was EA. They said, ‘No, thanks’ and then Nintendo.”
Bachus continued: “Steve (Ballmer, former 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.”
McBreen also recalled another meeting at Nintendo, saying “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.”
Interestingly enough, the article also makes mention that Microsoft were also looking to buy Square (now Square Enix) of Final Fantasy fame, as well as former Mortal Kombat publisher, the now defunct Midway Games.
Microsoft have had slightly more success since of course in the gaming industry as a whole and in acquiring other developers, acquiring Bethesda and all its family of studios in a whopping $7.5 billion dollar deal announced last year.
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