Nintendo Laughed At Microsoft When Microsoft Offered To Buy The Company

Dhir Acharya - Jan 07, 2021


Nintendo Laughed At Microsoft When Microsoft Offered To Buy The Company

'They just laughed their asses off. Like, imagine an hour of somebody just laughing at you. That was kind of how that meeting went.'

Microsoft once proposed acquiring Nintendo to lock in the Xbox’s first-party games. However, not only did Nintendo decline the offer, but it also laughed the company’s executives out of the room, according to Bloomberg.

Super Mario Bros - Nintendo
Super Mario Bros - Nintendo

Kevin Bachus, the former director of third-party relations for Microsoft Xbox, said:

“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.”

When the tech giant was getting its gaming console off the ground, it reached out to several companies, offering to acquire them. The list includes Midway Games, Electronics Art, and Square. Electronics Art delined the offer while Square said the offer was too low.

The original Xbox
The original Xbox

As for Nintendo, the developer of the famous title Super Mario Bros, Microsoft thought its game “The Legend of Zelda” would combine well with the superior hardware of the Xbox. Head of Xbox business development Bob McBreen said:

“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.”

Nintendo didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment.

It’s worth noting that the Japanese firm already released the Nintendo 64 at the time and was preparing to launch the GameCube, both ended up selling far worse than the SNES. A few years later, Nintendo released the Wii and DS, which stood among the most successful gaming platforms in the world. Meanwhile, Microsoft acquired other firms, including ZeniMax Media in 2019.

>>> Microsoft Xbox Series X Doesn't Perform As Well As Sony PS5, Why?

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