Nintendo “laughed their asses off” as Microsoft tried to buy them 20 years ago

Ever wondered what would have happened if Mario and Master Chief joined forces under one banner? It would be crazy to think about it today, but Microsoft didn’t think it was crazy back in 2000, when they actually tried to acquire Nintendo.

Nintendo apparently “laughed their asses off” at the idea, as revealed in a report by Bloomberg.

It turns out, Microsoft was keen on acquiring multiple companies, since they had very deep pockets to begin with. They approached EA, Square (before the merger with Enix), and Midway Games. EA said no, and Square thought the offer was too low. Midway wanted to be acquired, but offered little value back then.

And then there was Nintendo, which was the most interesting story of all.

The idea was to combine the superior hardware of the Xbox with beloved characters and IP’s like Mario and Zelda. “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” said Bob McBreen, head of Business Development for Xbox back then.

“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.” said Kevin Bachus, director of third-party relations.

Nintendo may not have achieved critical success with some of their past outings, but fast forward to 2020 and the Switch is outselling even the PS5 and Series X. Microsoft has been doing quite well for themselves as well, apart from producing a fantastic piece of hardware in the Series X, have also gone on to acquire Bethesda in one of the biggest deals that shook the industry.

Master Chief vs Mario? Could have actually been real!

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