Microsoft has been competing with rival console manufacturers Sony and Nintendo ever since the software giant released the first Xbox back in 2001, but they could have been on the same side as their competitors, as revealed recently by Xbox co-creator Ed Fries.
On the latest episode of IGN Unfiltered, Fries was asked whether or not Microsoft has ever considered buying Nintendo and he replied that they actually considered going into business with them. “When we first started thinking about doing Xbox we met with Nintendo and we sat down with [Satoru] Iwata and others and we said, ‘This is what we want to do. Could we partner? Could we work together on this?’ And basically they said no.”
If Nintendo had said yes, Fries notes that Microsoft would have likely handled the software and networking side of operations. Nintendo would have been in charge of the hardware, with the two companies teaming up to release a product, but Nintendo simply wasn’t interested.
Before striking out on their own, Microsoft also went to Sony with a similar pitch, but they weren’t on board either. “Bill [Gates] met with Sony,” Fries added. “Same deal. ‘Can we work together? Can we partner?’ And they said no.”
Of course, Microsoft decided to venture out on their own and compete directly with Sony’s PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo GameCube, launching the first Xbox on November 15, 2001. The rest, as they say, is history.
Fries did eventually return to the original question about Microsoft ever making an offer to buy Nintendo, but the Xbox co-creator denies having any knowledge of such a discussion, saying, “If anyone ever thought about buying Nintendo, I never heard that.”