Former executives who helped cook up Microsoft's first Xbox console have revealed the savage response Nintendo bosses had to a suggested takeover during the console's development.

"They just laughed their a**es off. Like, imagine an hour of somebody just laughing at you. That was kind of how that meeting went," then Xbox director of third-party relations Kevin Bachus told Bloomberg.

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The original Xbox looked a bit like a VCR and had a huge controller but it was powerful.
The original Xbox looked a bit like a VCR and had a huge controller but it was powerful.

At the time Microsoft was mainly known as a boring software company that made Office and Windows and was coming off the back of a bruising antitrust investigation.

The company was looking to get into video games and was looking for a developer to acquire who could make games for its new console.

Then Xbox head of business development Bob McBreen told Bloomberg they'd originally tried to buy out Electronic Arts but were rebuffed.

Nintendo's American chairman Howard Lincoln said "Nintendo does not talk about confidential discussions with other companies. In any event, nothing came of these discussions."

Microsoft eventually acquired Bungie and its Halo game.
Microsoft eventually acquired Bungie and its Halo game.

Another plan to have Nintendo work with Microsoft even if it wouldn't let the company buy it looked promising but didn't make it past the finish line.

"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," Mr 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."

The deal with Nintendo didn't work out but the one the company eventually made sure did.

Bungie was a little known developer working on a game called Halo when it was acquired by Microsoft, who turned Halo into a launch title for the Xbox and an iconic franchise in the process.

 

Originally published as Nintendo's savage response to take over


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