Nintendo 'Laughed Their Asses Off' At Xbox Acquisition Attempt In 2000

Bloomberg has put out a comprehensive oral history of the original Xbox, and it includes some very interesting comments from those involved about some attempted acquisitions at the turn of the Millennium.

As revealed by original Xbox team members Kevin Bachus, Bob McBreen and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Nintendo "laughed their asses off" at the idea, with an attempted "joint venture" proposed back in January of 2000.

"BACHUS Steve 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 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."

Microsoft didn't just target Nintendo alone, but also attempted to acquire EA, Midway Games and Square Enix, with the latter two coming close to a deal ("we had a letter of intent to buy Square"), but nothing ultimately materialised.

You can check out the full oral history of the original Xbox over at the website (it's a good read!), and let us know your thoughts on these attempted pre-launch Xbox acquisitions down in the comments below.