Before Microsoft Corp. released the original XBox back in November 15th, 2001 being the first foray into the gaming console market, they attempted to form a gaming partnership with two world’s largest video game companies; Nintendo and Sony. Stories about these efforts have appeared online throughout the years.
Failed to partner with Nintendo
Speaking about the failed Nintendo partnership in a new interview, XBox Co-Creator Ed Fries said Microsoft proposed Nintendo make the hardware, leaving software and networking duties to the Windows company. But Nintendo declined to the proposal.
In an interview with IGN, Ed said “When we first started thinking about doing XBox, we met with Nintendo and sat down with the late Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata and others and asked if they could partner and work together on this?’ And basically they said no.”
Failed to partner with Sony
After they failure with Nintendo, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates met with Sony to discuss a similar deal. “Can we work together? Can we partner?” Ed said Gates asked. “And they said no.”
Ed comments came in response to a question about if there was any truth to the rumors that Microsoft attempted to buy Nintendo. If this was ever discussed internally, Ed didn’t know about it, apparently. “Actually, if anyone (at Microsoft) thought about buying Nintendo, I never heard that,” he said.
Microsoft would go on to release the Xbox in November 2001, in part to try to stop Sony from dominating the living room, former Xbox director Robbie Bach said earlier this year. Bach also said that the original Xbox was a huge money-loser to the tune of $5 billion. It was a loss that Microsoft could afford to take because of its successes in other markets, including Windows.
Not everyone inside of Microsoft supported the idea to make a console; some wanted to “kill” the Xbox and said Microsoft should instead focus on Windows and other enterprise endeavors, according to Bach.
Microsoft isn’t the only company that wanted to work with the two industry goliaths. Before the PS1, Sony and Nintendo worked together on a “Nintendo PlayStation” console. Prototypes were even created before the two companies, now rivals, separated.