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The Real Reason Microsoft Wanted To Buy Nintendo

In the pre-Xbox era, Microsoft was mostly known for its work on computer software. However, as technology began to advance and home consoles were looking to be the future of gaming, Microsoft wanted to hop in on the trend. This would lead the company down a path that would eventually end with one of gaming's most iconic home consoles.


Many might not realize that Microsoft originally approached Nintendo in 2000 in order to get its foot in the door. Considering Nintendo's dominance in the home console market, it makes sense that Microsoft would make this move. And it might have worked out, except Microsoft actually offered to buy the company and produce the hardware for its consoles. This deal would mean that Nintendo would just be in charge of making games, while Microsoft worked on what it did best, tech. 

However, there was an even bigger reason as to why Microsoft boldly asked Nintendo to give in.

Microsoft wanted to take a shortcut

It turns out that Microsoft's request to buy out Nintendo was done in an effort to save the company time and energy. During the annual Industry Icons Roundtable on Twitch, former Xbox president Robbie Bach offered insight into Microsoft's offer. According to Bach, Microsoft wanted to stretch into the video game industry, but "didn't want to do the hard work." 


In other words, Microsoft figured that since Nintendo had been in the industry for a while, it could just piggyback off Nintendo and not deal with any of the possible headaches that would come with making its own console.

In the end, Nintendo quite literally laughed Microsoft execs out of the room. Bach didn't take it too personally though, stating that Microsoft "didn't have all that much to bring to the table." In fact, Bob McBreen, a former Xbox business developer, even said that Microsoft's pitch was simply that Nintendo's "hardware stunk, and compared to Sony PlayStation, it did." 

Instead, Microsoft would eventually decide to work hard on creating a new console of its own. This would eventually become the Xbox, which was released in 2001.