But the House of Mario laughed in Microsoft’s face.
Microsoft at one time was looking to acquire gaming companies EA, Midway, Square Enix, and even Nintendo.
This is according to a Blomberg feature on the origins of Xbox. It features insight from various people who had a hand in the original Xbox’s creation discussing the early days of the console.
In it, we find out Microsoft first approached EA, which quickly said “no thanks.” The company then set its eye on Nintendo.
According to Kevin Bachus, former director of third-party relations at Xbox, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer set up a meeting 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,” Bachus said.
With Nintendo’s dismissal of an offer, Microsoft went on to try and acquire Square Enix, which refused the offer for being too low.
The company then decided to try and bring Midway Games into the fold. While the Mortal Kombat developer was interested, a Microsoft acquisition would have taken the company out of the PlayStation business, according to Bachus.
It’s really a good read, especially if you are interested in a behind-the-scenes account of the early days of Xbox.