Last year there was renewed chatter around a rumour that, before bringing the first Xbox to market, Microsoft considered trying to buy Nintendo. It was part of a broader set of revelations around the slightly chaotic planning phase for that debut console, and it evidently never got far.
Xbox co-creator Ed Fries, speaking to IGN, has now given an alternative version of events. He confirms that formal conversations were held with Nintendo President Satoru Iwata to discuss a potential hardware partnership, an offer that was declined; talks also took place with Sony.
On the rumour of Microsoft trying to buy Nintendo, Fries simply says "I never heard that".
It's an interesting part of home console history, reminiscent of occasions in the '90s when Nintendo explored and almost partnered on hardware with the likes of Philips and, of course, Sony.
In the end Microsoft went alone with the Xbox, establishing the triumvirate of manufacturers that currently leads the dedicated gaming hardware space.
Tell you what that MIGHT of worked, MS handling hardware and Nintendo on software.
A shame they don't just go to Nintendo now.
@abe_hikura I think he meant software like OS and networking/online functionality, which in that case lets be honest would have been really good for Nintendo.
Nah.....it would never have worked out. Nintendo works with the idea of innovation so letting Microsoft doing hardware and Nintendo doing software wouldn't work out in the long run.
Phew, we dodged a bullet on that one.
Don't get me wrong, my main HD system last gen was a 360, well actually 4...
But I'd hate for Nintendo to be restricted to MS way of doing things.
On the other hand, I would not have a problem if they jumped in bed with Sony.
Letting Sony handle the console hardware and Nintendo handle the portable hardware, while both develop games for each system.
Still would prefer them to be independent, but I'm not sure how much longer they can keep that up if next gen mirrors the current one.
@abe_hikura Never. Even though they can build a powerful, stripped PC in a gaming console shell fairly well, they lack in the innovation department. They would have done well joining forces on the OS and online functions though.
Atari was planning to buy Nintendo.
That's a shame too, because their partnership with SEGA went really well.
Might have worked honestly. Wouldn't work now though.
Microsoft's biggest issue nowadays is their insistence on being a US/UK centric brand. PlayStation is a worldwide brand that appeals to people of different languages and varying tastes. That's the biggest reason they're so successful, and is why they were able to catch up after initially screwing up with the PS3 last generation.
I think Sony and Nintendo teamed up could do amazing things. One console, both developing games for it, think of the possibilities.
@IceClimbers I think that would be a good thing. Microsoft do well in NA and EU, and Nintendo do well in Japan. They compliment each other so well. Microsoft's networking and hardware could do wonders for Nintendo, and Nintendo's innovative software could spark Microsoft's creativity.
I really don't see any negatives to the two making a deal, even in the present.
The Wintendo. What might have been...
@DBPirate They did which is why you now see Super Mario contents in Minecraft for Wii U. Nintendo mentions that the idea of putting Super Mario or any Nintendo contents in Minecraft was never theirs, it's Microsoft's idea. This being the closest thing to a partnership we will ever get from both.
Already detailed here. Like I said before though, quite a long read, but a very good one. Could be made into a small book.
@RoomB31 I agree. One of the drawbacks of the Wii family of consoles is their OS and the lack of integrated apps for the system, relatively speaking, when compared to their competitors. Sony and Microsoft are both technology companies and the other branches of their companies are able to contribute to their console devices. Nintendo being, for the most part, just a gaming company has struggled with some of these things and, presumably, other things behind the curtain like online infrastructure. If Nintendo had pulled the trigger, we'd still be getting (un-nerfed) Rare games, we'd probably have DVD and/or Blu ray capability, integrated voice chat, better online systems, Twitch support/integrated video capture, etc. I wonder what the actual pitch was and what the exact reasons Nintendo had for saying no. Couldn't have been that great of an offer if Sony turned them down too.
Satoru Iwata wasn't President until 2002, the Xbox launched in 2001. Though, he was head of corporate planning from 2000, maybe that's what they meant.
It really wouldn't surprise me if NX is a partnership with Sony. Maybe it's the reason why neither NX or Neo was seen at E3. The world just isn't ready for it yet.
@retro_player_22 Not sure. Not too long ago Phil Spencer I think was making comments of the possibility of Rare Replay on Wii U. Granted it was only possibilities, but than again the thought of Minecraft on the Wii U was thought as just nonsense at one point. I mean Mr. Spencer seems like a rather big Nintendo fan and wanted Banjo and Kazooie to be in Super Smash Bros. So never say never for future partnerships.
If Microsoft only handled the distribution, third-party relations, and advertising in English-speaking countries, I personally wouldn't mind a partnership. But for the most part, I doubt they could've come to a mutually beneficial partnership, at least not without major sacrifices. Same with Sony at this point. Microsoft is actually the one in bigger need of help selling their stuff in Asia (and I think parts of Western Europe?), so it's not like they wouldn't comprimise. I just mean that that the result probably wouldn't be pretty.
Considering where some of Microsoft's current policies (not necessarily in the gaming space) are taking them, I'm glad a collaboration with Nintendo never happened.
I doubt microsoft will buy them
@xPH03N1Xx86 Not really about what you wrote or anything, I just wanted to say I really love your avatar. Vesta was one of my favorite villagers ever, and that's a really cute gif of her.
Wait... people would have wanted Microsoft to help Nintendo? Never mind how buggy and messy each of their OS releases are. Never mind how they advocated to ban used games (and changed their mind at the last moment). Never mind their plans to force their camera to always record (and changed their mind at the last moment). Never mind how faulty their 360 hardware was. Microsoft is NOT known for quality. Literally the only positive side of their gaming platforms is Xbox Live. Nintendo was quite smart to avoid them.
please keep microsoft far away from my nintendo
Nintendo will burn it self to the ground before letting Microsoft or any other company buy them. That's what I think anyways
Sure, as a hardcore fan I wouldn't be into this possibility, but the mere thought of Nintendo's software with the Xbox's usual amazing sales is really tempting imho.
@Krisi She is by far my favourite villager. Threw me a surprise birthday and strangely always visited when times were rough.
Microsoft were really after Sega at that point.
And from what I gather it was rejected by the Japanese board.
The head of Sega of America, Bernard Stolar, really pushed to make the deal happen.
Sega of Japan were unanimously against the buy out.
@abe_hikura Or, Nintendo handling hardware, OS and software, and Microsoft handling marketing.
I own an Xbox One and a Wii U. I more recently got a PS4 and I wish I had never bought the Xbox One, as I have never had anything crash so much or fail to open games so often. It makes me remember every version of Windows from 3.1 onwards with fondness.
eh, not sure how i feel if this became a thing now. part of me would had a bad feeling if this happen, part of me would be happy to play classic games on PC or Xbox, intead of using Dolphin.
I always thought that a Nintendo/Disney partnership would be pretty awesome. Nintendo would get to work with a huge swath of new IP's and Disney would be able to leverage N's existing properties. And yes I know this is pie in the sky dreaming.
@abe_hikura But that's not what he said, he said that Nintendo would do the hardware and Microsoft would do the software. I feel like everyone in the comments got those mixed up.
Wonder if they made a secret console together too..
No. Microsoft is evil and needs to be destroyed. Just look at how well the Xbox sells in Japan. If Microsoft bought out Nintendo, it would be game over for them in the homeland...
I'd be all for it. MS and Nintendo are the only ones with IP's worth a damn (Sony has Ratchet & Clank, the rest are meh)
Mario, Halo, Zelda, Gears, Smash, Forza etc on a single console?! Not to mention the multiplats on top. You'd be mad to say it's a bad idea (see above)
Glad it didnt work out! If Nintendo had abandoned hardware manufacturing and teamed up with MS, who knows what kind of bondage they might have gotten into. Just think about Rare! They ended up doing kinect software!
Good news! Staying independent, Nintendo!
@abe_hikura I disagree. And you know why.
I wonder how much of it is true. When would that have been if they were still in the process of making XBox or if that was BEFORE even considering making XBox ? Hiroshi Yamauchi was still president of Nintendo when both the XBox and the Gamecube launched. Iwata only became president around late 2002 or in 2003 if I recall correctly. So why would they have gone to meet Iwata to discuss that when he wouldn't have been president of Nintendo at the time?
Considering what they did to rare , coupled with their crappy policy attempts, they can keep dreaming. i don't like microsoft.
It never would have worked, the xbox has bleed MS of a lot of funds at various times over the years. If it was a gaming only company and not part of Microsoft it would have been done years ago.
Samus vs Master chief
Microsoft is notoriously a shambles of a company internally...when they joined the console market the first thing that came into my head is why? There is nothing about their machines that has ever made me want to own one. I always saw them as some bloke in a suit turning up at a rave.
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