Bloomberg released a very interesting story. They released an oral history of the release of the original Xbox. They spoke about industry veterans about what occurred and the story is interesting. We now know about the pitch meetings, why Microsoft got into the console gaming business, and what Microsoft’s way to getting games was. You should read the whole report but here you will read the summary of it.
Microsoft wanted games for their new console and wanted some exclusive games for it. So, they talked to EA about getting some exclusive games. EA said, “No, thanks.” They then head to Nintendo and I’ll let Kevin Bachus and Bob McBreen’s words explain what actually happened there:
BACHUS: Steve [Ballmer] 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.
MCBREEN: We actually had Nintendo in our building in January 2000 to work through the details of a joint venture where we gave them all the technical specs of the Xbox. 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.
That’s some over the top reaction. I’m shocked that Microsoft tried Nintendo at all to be honest since they’ve been such a big name in gaming since the 1980s. Microsoft also tried buying Square which we now know as Square Enix and Midway Games, but neither of those would happen. I can only imagine how would gaming look if Xbox had got the EA or Nintendo or both.