The tech world will always surprise us with its stories, each more fascinating than the next. Imagine a world where Microsoft is the proud owner of Nintendo. Well, we didn’t get very far.
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In 2000, a year before Microsoft presented the first Xbox, the Redmond company was already looking to anticipate this launch by taking into account the formidable competitor that was Sony’s PlayStation 2. Microsoft therefore had to release a more solid console in terms of hardware than the PlayStation 2, but above all, it was necessary to be able to offer as many games as its competitor. Sadly, we’re in the early 2000s, and Microsoft is well off its current status in the video game industry.
Microsoft’s first steps in gaming.
At the time, Microsoft was entering a sector that the company knew very little about. The only way to make a name for yourself quickly was to pull out the checkbook. That’s what Bill Gates and his teams did. To begin with, Microsoft made proposals to buy back Electronic Arts, Square (now Square Enix, the studio behind Final Fantasy), but also Midway Games, the studio behind the timeless Mortal Kombat. All these companies have been approached by the American giant with the aim of becoming exclusive to the Xbox environment. Unfortunately for Microsoft none will give a favorable response.
But the company’s ambitions are far too great to stop so close to the goal. Microsoft continues its financial proposals and comes knocking on the door of Nintendo which already at that time is a big name in video games.
Stay humble, always.
Here is how it happened. In January 2000, senior Nintendo officials visited Microsoft for the launch of this brand new console. Spoiler, it went badly.
Microsoft teams far too confident and with very little humility in the face of an industry giant began to expose Nintendo’s weaknesses. One of them was the material side. Microsoft did not hesitate to point out to Nintendo that they were well below what Sony offers from a hardware point of view. But Microsoft also dwells on the fact that Nintendo is far above in terms of games offered, thanks in particular to the Mario franchise. That’s when Microsoft’s representatives jump in and ask Nintendo to let them take care of the hardware and them the games.
With no response from Nintendo, the Japanese representatives simply spent the rest of the meeting chuckling among themselves. The message got across, Microsoft will never offer Nintendo anything.