Nintendo "laughed their asses off" when Microsoft asked about acquisition

Nintendo "laughed their asses off" when Microsoft asked about acquisition

Early on its life, Microsoft's Xbox brand approached Nintendo, Square, Midway and EA about being acquired.

That's according to a report by Bloomberg, which says that the Nintendo "laughed their asses off" at the Microsoft reps who went to meet them.

"Steve made us go meet with Nintendo to see if they would consider being acquired," Xbox's former director of third-party relations said.

"They just laughed their asses off. Like, imagine an hour of somebody just laughing at you. That was kind of how that meeting went."

The first company that Microsoft tried to buy was EA, who simply said "No, thanks," according to former head of business development Bob McBreen. Xbox also had a letter of intent to buy Square – now Square Enix – but the firm pulled out because the price was too low, apparently.

"We had a letter of intent to buy Square," McBreen said.

"In early November 1999, we went to Japan. We had one of those big dinners with their CEO and Steve Ballmer. The next day, we’re sitting in their boardroom, and they said, “Our banker would like to make a statement.” And basically, the banker said, “Square cannot go through with this deal because the price is too low.” We packed up, we went home, and that was the end of Square."

Meanwhile, Microsoft talked to Midway who was "very serious about wanting to be acquired" but the deal couldn't work as there apparently wouldn't be "a lot of value" left once Xbox cut off the parts of the company it didn't need.

This news comes in the wake of Microsoft announcing it was buying Bethesda parent firm ZeniMax Media for $7.5bn in September 2020. This is just the latest in a long line of purchases that the Big M has made in recent years.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.