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.