Microsoft shares 1999 letter from their unsuccessful bid to buy Nintendo

Microsoft buy nintendo

Back in 1999, when Microsoft was first preparing to enter the console space, the company explored various means by which it could secure strong first-party software output, including what turned out to be a very one-sided interest in the computer giant trying to buy Nintendo. Nintendo was not compelled by Microsoft’s early advances, with the company’s former third-party relations director Kevil Bachus stating that Nintendo “just laughed their asses off” in a meeting to discuss a potential acquisition.

Now, we have an all new look at some background from Microsoft’s ill-fated attempt to buy Nintendo. Through its newly launched Xbox 20th anniversary memorial site, Microsoft has shared a heavily obscured letter that vice president Rick Thompson sent to Nintendo of America, pictured below.

Microsoft Buy Nintendo

It’s tough to read most of the message thanks to a giant text overlay reading “Microsoft tries to acquire Nintendo,” but you can still see a few interesting tidbits. Standing out is Microsoft’s offer to “make Dolphin [the developing name for the GameCube] the best video game [console].” It’s tough to imagine how the GameCube would have turned out with influence from Microsoft. While not a perfect indicator, the Xbox went on to be a radically different system than the GameCube, boasting its own line of exclusives and the Xbox Live online network. Neither system made much of a splash against the dominant PS2, but it’s fun to see old documents such as this one and imagine how differently things might have gone if Microsoft were actually successful in a bid to buy Nintendo – though I’m happy to have the two giants as competing players in the console game, personally.


Nick Pearson
I'm the Reviews Editor here at Nintendo Enthusiast, and I'm a major fan of all consoles and eras.