The Xbox Virtual Museum has a letter dated over twenty years ago describing the time Microsoft tried to buy Nintendo.
You can find the letter as part of Microsoft’s Xbox virtual museumthe company released for Xbox as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations.
While much of the document is unfortunately covered by a large green text overlay, the letter gives a brief glimpse into the communication between the then Xbox Hardware Boss Rick Thompson and Jacqualee Story, the then Executive Vice President of Business Affairs at Nintendo of America.
“Dear Jacqualee, I appreciate that you took the time to schedule a meeting with Takeda-san and Yamauchi-san to discuss a possible strategic partnership between Nintendo and Microsoft on future video game platforms,” Thompson said in the letter. “I understand Mr. Takeda’s concerns about the potential partnership and will try to [obscured text] the guidelines he requested. “
While large parts of the rest of the letter are unfortunately missing, it is safe to say that very little came of the talks between the two companies. Earlier this year, Kevin Bachus, former director of third party relations at Microsoft, delved into the company’s attempts to acquire Nintendo at the time, as part of an oral story about the development of the original Xbox.
Xbox 20th Anniversary Virtual Museum screenshots
“Steve got us to meet with Nintendo to see if they’d consider a takeover,” said Bachus. “You just laughed your ass off. For example, imagine an hour when someone just laughs at you.
Despite a rather humiliating first meeting, it seems like the two companies have met at least once again. “We had Nintendo in our building in January 2000 to work through the details of a joint venture where we would give them all the technical specifications for the Xbox,” said Bob McBreen, former head of business development, in the same oral history interview.
“The pitch was the hardware stink, and compared to Sony PlayStation it was. So the idea was, ‘Listen, you’re much better at the game parts of it with Mario and all that stuff. Why don’t you let us? take care of the hardware? ‘ But it did not work.”
While Microsoft and Nintendo haven’t quite partnered, it’s safe to say that both companies are doing pretty well for themselves these days. For more information on Xbox 20th Anniversary Celebrations, check out this article that describes how the virtual museum actually houses an exhibit dedicated to you.
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him Twitter.