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Report: Microsoft tried to buy Nintendo over 20 years ago


Can you imagine Mario, Zelda, and Metroid games all running on the Xbox? It could have happened.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, the PC giant looked to the Big N in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a possible acquisition target. The original Xbox launched in November 2001.

Here’s more from Eurogamer:

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“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.”

Boy, the last two decades would have looked a lot different for gaming if this plan had actually gone through. Of course, it didn’t. And while it’s hard to predict what this alternate universe might have looked like, it’s distinctly possible that we would not have gotten the Nintendo DS, Wii, or Switch.

Do you think that a marriage between Nintendo and Microsoft would have worked? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!