Nintendo execs 'laughed' at Microsoft when they tried to acquire the company

Microsoft tried to acquire Nintendo 20 years ago, and Nintendo laughed in their faces.

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The Xbox brand has come a long way over the past 20 years and multiple generations. Looking at its competition, it’s weird to think of the relationships between Microsoft and some of its biggest competitors have had over the years. One newly shared story reveals that Microsoft approached Nintendo about potentially acquiring the gaming giant, to which Nintendo execs laughed.

This comes courtesy of Bloomberg, as the outlet recently published a feature detailing the history of the Xbox brand. In the story, we learn that Microsoft approached several notable gaming companies about possible acquisitions twenty years ago, one of them being Electronic Arts. Even more interesting, it’s confirmed that Microsoft went as far to attempt to negotiate a potential purchase of Nintendo back in 2000.

Of course, Microsoft was not successful in acquiring Nintendo. When speaking to Bloomberg, Seamus Blackley, one of the creators of the Xbox, stated that Nintendo laughed when Microsoft met with them to talk about an acquisition.

“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,” Blackley said. It’s fascinating to imagine how the world of gaming would be entirely different had Microsoft actually bought Nintendo. It’s also a bit hilarious to think of a bunch of Nintendo executives laughing Microsoft out of the room.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Xbox and how Microsoft’s console came to be, check out our recently published long read, Bet on Black: How Microsoft and Xbox Changed Pop Culture, Part 1, in which David Craddock speaks with a number of past and present creatives at Microsoft.

Contributing Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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  • reply
    January 7, 2021 6:30 AM

    Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Nintendo execs 'laughed' at Microsoft when they tried to acquire the company

    • reply
      January 7, 2021 7:14 AM

      i love that story

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      January 7, 2021 8:09 AM

      I feel like they would still laugh them out of the room, even though Microsoft is overall a bigger company now.

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        January 7, 2021 1:33 PM

        Back when I worked at CompUSA I got to be friends with the component buyer. This was very late 90s/early 2k. ASUS was just starting to make a name for itself in the US. I was talking with him about the company and how the enthusiast (that word hadn't been applied to us yet) liked their products. On a trip overseas he got to meet with the president. He came back and told me he wasn't able to strike a deal with them. The president said they were happy with their current business and didn't feel they needed to enter a direct relationship with a national retailer. I was shocked when I heard the story.

        Looking back on that story, many decades later, and knowing more now about how our business was really run, I think the truth was they didn't want to deal with our horrible COOP/MDF requirements. There were so many bad practices in that company, it's no wonder it failed, and really how it held on for so long.

        Nintendo is certainly not a very progressive company, but they're pretty stable at this point.

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        January 7, 2021 1:55 PM

        Microsoft dwarfed Nintendo back then, too.

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      January 7, 2021 8:55 AM

      Nintendo is a zero-debt company and the second most profitable company in all of Japan. They just have piles of money. This is an amusing story and I like it.

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