What if Microsoft bought Nintendo 20 years ago? An unlikely scenario? Not that much…
Microsoft has just shared a letter sent to Nintendo in 1999 in which the brand evokes negotiations to organize a partnership and why not a takeover of the video game giant.
The rest, we know it: Microsoft ended up launching its own brand of video games with its Xbox department.
The letter written by Rick Thompson, vice president of hardware at Microsoft is addressed to Jacqualee Story, executive vice president of commercial affairs of Nintendo America.
Unfortunately, much of the content of the letter is obscured. Nevertheless, it is a question of a meeting between the two groups in order to achieve a strategic partnership.
In the end, the meeting didn’t go well, as Nintendo reportedly showed up and when Steve Ballmer brought up the buyout, Big N reps just laughed.
For Microsoft, the partnership aimed at a collaboration on the GameCube at first: the American brand wanted to help Nintendo to produce the console, but the question of the takeover of Nintendo was also at the heart of the group’s strategy.
Encouraged by large publishers at the time who felt the need to have an actor other than Sony and its PlayStation in the more adult games market, Microsoft therefore made the choice to launch its own console with the Xbox.
During a second meeting with Nintendo in January 2000, Microsoft explained with all its American modesty that the brand’s console was not at the level of the market. Microsoft then presented the technical details of its Xbox, hoping that Nintendo would accept a partnership to produce games while Microsoft would take care of the hardware.
Finally Nintendo will have refused the proposal, just like that of Sony. Frustrated by Nintendo’s refusal, Microsoft will try to touch Nintendo by buying one of the third-party publishers that made the Japanese so successful: Rare Software.