Nintendo apparently “laughed their asses off” when Microsoft tried to buy them which is the appropriate reaction for that situation.
The offer apparently occurred before the launch of the original Xbox two decades ago, according to former executives.
The hilarious what-could-have-been moment comes to us via a new oral history report from Bloomberg, which features discussion of the early years of the Xbox, to mark the iconic console’s 20th anniversary.
And it seems like the greedy Microsoft had tried to buy as many major gaming companies as they could. Bob McBreen, former head of business development at Xbox, said: “The first company we reached out to buy was EA. They said, ‘No, thanks,’ and then Nintendo.”
Now EA we could see but Nintendo? They must have known that was always going to be a long shot. Kevin Bachus confirmed this as he remembered the response Nintendo had to the offer: “They just laughed their asses off. Like, imagine an hour of somebody just laughing at you. That was kind of how that meeting went.”
If only George Lucas had reacted the same way when Disney came calling. If only. Microsoft also wanted to work on the Xbox alongside Nintendo, with the latter making games while Microsoft sorted out the hardware. “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?’” revealed McBreen. “But it didn’t work out.”
In total, Nintendo, EA, Square (now Square Enix), and Midway Games all turned down Microsoft, for one reason or another. They finally struck gold, though, when they acquired Bungie, which were developing a little franchise called Halo at the time.
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It comes a few months after Microsoft first announced that they intend to buy ZeniMax Media and all of its subsidiary studios (which includes Bethesda Softworks). The mammoth deal is expected to be completed sometime this year and, at $7.5 billion, it will be the biggest gaming deal in history. So things worked out for the goliath tech corporation, as they usually do.