The Xbox Virtual Museum features a letter from over twenty years ago detailing the time that 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 its 20th-anniversary celebrations for Xbox.
While much of the document is unfortunately covered by a large green text overlay, the letter does give a brief insight into the communication between Xbox’s head of hardware at the time Rick Thompson and Nintendo of America’s then-executive VP of business affairs, Jacqualee Story.
“Dear Jacqualee, I appreciate you taking the time to try to arraign a meeting with Mr. Takeda and Mr. Yamauchi to discuss a possible strategic partnership between Nintendo and Microsoft on future video game platforms,” states Thompson in the letter. “I understand Mr. Takeda’s concerns about the possible partnership and will try to [obscured text] the guidelines that he has requested.”
While large parts of the rest of the letter are unfortunately missing, it’s safe to say that very little materialized from the discussions held between the two companies. Earlier this year, Kevin Bachus, former director of third-party relations at Microsoft delved further into the company’s attempts to acquire Nintendo at the time as part of an oral history given on the creation of the original Xbox.
Xbox 20th Anniversary Virtual Museum Screenshots
“Steve made us go meet with Nintendo to see if they would consider being acquired,” explained Bachus. “They just laughed their asses off. Like, imagine an hour of somebody just laughing at you. That was kind of how that meeting went.”
Despite what sounds like a rather humiliating initial meeting, it appears as though 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 specs of the Xbox,” explains former head of business development Bob McBreen as part of the same oral history interview.
“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.”
While Microsoft and Nintendo didn’t quite end up in partnership with one another, its safe to say that both companies are doing pretty well for themselves nowadays. For more on Xbox’s 20th anniversary celebrations, make sure to check out this article detailing how the Virtual Museum actually contains an exhibit dedicated to you.
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.