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‘They Just Laughed their A***s Off’- Former Microsoft Employee on the Possible Acquisition of Nintendo

Published 01/07/2021, 10:48 AM EST

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Microsoft released Xbox Series S/X on November 10 last year but failed to deliver an exclusive game alongside. Halo Infinite was supposed to fill this void, but things just didn’t fall into place.

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According to a recent report, Microsoft had headhunted some of the biggest studios 20 years ago to produce exclusives for the original Xbox, but failed.

The conglomerate announced the console in 2000 and attempted to purchase several studios. Further, Microsoft also attempted to acquire devs who would work on the new system.


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Several devs who worked on the console up to its release have highlighted an intriguing piece of information. To cement exclusives for the original Xbox, Microsoft attempted to buy Nintendo and EA, among several other companies.

Sadly, they missed the mark, and this plan went down like a lead balloon.

Bloomberg conducted the interview to mark the 20-year anniversary of the Xbox. They invited the former Head of Business Development, Bob McBreen, and former Director of Third-Party Relations, Kevin Bachus, two people who played a massive role in helping the original Xbox set an impetus for craftier consoles in the future.

Microsoft tried bagging exclusives for its original Xbox

The two also revealed Microsoft’s unsuccessful attempts at bagging exclusives. The Bill Gates-owned giant contacted EA, which had become a heavyweight in the gaming fraternity. However, things didn’t go as planned and the idea of acquiring the studio met with a swift “no thanks.”

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The former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, sent both Bob and Kevin to strike a deal with Nintendo. But that didn’t go as planned either.


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“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,” said Kevin.

They also revealed that Microsoft was very close to acquiring both Square Enix and Midway (the studio behind Mortal Kombat), but as fate would have it, a middle-ground couldn’t be established yet again.

In the end, Bungie contacted Microsoft for an acquisition, and the rest is history. The acquisition is responsible for one of the most notable Xbox franchises to date and helped cement Xbox as a force to be reckoned with.


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Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Media last year, a deal that enabled Microsoft to add some magnificent titles by Bethesda to its celebrated Game Pass subscription.


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While we have heard very little since the acquisition, it is safe to assume that Microsoft is busy preparing to add more studios to its portfolio.

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Nakul Ahuja

396 articles

Nakul Ahuja is an Esports author at EssentiallySports. He has spent 11 years doing theatre and is currently preparing for his Master's degree in Journalism. Along the way, he hopes to rake in money as Ninja does.