The Xbox Virtual Museum contains a letter from over twenty years ago describing the time when Microsoft tried to buy Nintendo.
The letter can be found as part of Microsoft’s Xbox Virtual Museum, which the company has launched as part of their 20th anniversary celebration for the Xbox.
Although much of the document is unfortunately covered by a large green text overlay, the letter provides a brief insight into the communication between Xbox’s hardware manager at the time, Rick Thompson, and Nintendo of America’s then-CEO of business affairs, Jacqualee Story.
“Dear Jacqualee, I appreciate you taking the time to try to arrange a meeting with Mr. Takeda and Mr. Yamauchi to discuss a possible strategic partnership between Nintendo and Microsoft on future video game platforms,” Thompson said in the letter. “I understand Mr. Takeda’s concerns about the possible partnership and will try to [obscured text] the guidelines he has requested. “
While large parts of the rest of the letter are unfortunately missing, it is safe to say that very little has been created in the discussions between the two companies. Earlier this year, Kevin Bachus, former director of third-party relationships at Microsoft, further dived into the company’s attempts to acquire Nintendo at the time as part of an oral story given about the creation of the original Xbox.
Xbox 20th Anniversary Virtual Museum Screenshots
“Steve got us to meet with Nintendo to see if they would consider being acquired,” Bachus explained. “They just laughed at them. Imagine an hour where someone just laughs at you. That was kind of how that meeting went.”
Despite what sounds like a rather humiliating introductory meeting, it seems the two companies met on at least one other occasion. “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 specifications of the Xbox,” explains former business development chief Bob McBreen as part of the same oral history interview.
“The pitch was their hardware stunk, and compared to the Sony PlayStation it did. So the idea was, ‘Listen, you’re much better at the game parts of it with Mario and all that. Why do not you let us take care of the hardware? ‘ But it did not succeed”.
Although Microsoft and Nintendo did not quite end up in partnership with each other, it is safe to say that both companies are doing pretty well on their own today. For more on the Xbox’s 20th anniversary celebration, be sure to check out this article that describes how the virtual museum actually features an exhibit dedicated to you.
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him further Twitter.
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