It has come to light that at one point, while working on the original Xbox console, Microsoft considered buying out Nintendo.
Speaking to GamesIndustry recently, Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley and Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning revealed that at the time, Microsoft had many individuals who believed the core market was going to be casual.
Naturally, this forecast had many eyes glancing at Nintendo and its Mario cult. In fact, Microsoft even contemplated giving away the Xbox for free.
“At the time, Xbox thought that the core market was going to be casual,” said Lanning. “They were going to be the casual gamers’ machine. Now, that’s why they approached us because they said ‘we think you’ve got something that competes in that Mario space and we think Mario’s the thing to kill … We see that space. We want that audience. We love Oddworld so why don’t you get on this bandwagon? And we might give the box away’.
“So now you’re like, ‘look, if you’re going to give the box away, you’re going to win. If you’re going to win, we want to be on board’.”
We can wonder how things would have been if Microsoft had gone through with their desire to buy out Nintendo. However, it’s debatable whether Nintendo would have even accepted the proposal. The company has always been very picky about letting its core franchises run through their fingers.
Microsoft’s Xbox console would go on to sell better than Nintendo’s GameCube. Both however, fell short to reaching figures achieved by Sony’s PlayStation 2, that would go on to become the best selling game console of all time.