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Microsoft publishes the acquisition letter that got it laughed out of Nintendo's office

Microsoft shares the letter it penned to Nintendo in 1999 when it attempted to purchase the company.
What would the world be like if Mario and Master Chief teamed up? What would Bowser look like as a guest character in Killer Instinct? Can you imagine a Forza Horizon and Mario Kart crossover? What about seeing a Crackdown agent in Smash?

In an alternate timeline, all these things have happened. Becasue over 20 years ago, as Microsoft was getting ready to launch the original Xbox console, a couple of execs at the company were worried that there wouldn't be enough games for the hardware at launch. The solution? Buy Nintendo!

Nintendo, though, “laughed their asses off” at the offer. Now – perhaps as the embarrassment fades some 20-plus years on – Microsoft has published a letter that was sent between the two companies at the time, giving us an insight into the thinking behind the deal.

The letter has been shared as part of the new browser-based Xbox 20th anniversary interactive museum, and though lots of the document is covered up (boo), there's stil a lot to be learned from what's visible.

"Dear Jacqualee, I appreciate you taking the time to try to arraign a meeting with Mr. Takeda and Mr. Yamauchi to discuss a possible strategic partnership between Nintendo and Microsoft on future video game platforms," reads the letter. "I understand Mr. Takeda's concerns about the possible partnership and will try to [blocked out] the guidelines that he has requested."

It's worth a look at the link above if you want to take a peek at some gaming history yourself. Whilst you're there, you can also check out your own Xbox history and look into more elements of the company's past. It's a pretty cool exhibit, and a real nice way of celebrating Xbox's 20-year anniversary.

About the Author

Dom Peppiatt avatar

Dom Peppiatt


Dom is a veteran video games critic and consultant copywriter that has appeared in publications ranging from Daily Star to The Guardian. Passionate about games and the greater good they can achieve, you can usually find Dom listening to records, farting about in the kitchen, or playing Final Fantasy VIII (again).

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