When Microsoft first launched the Xbox, the company had a plan to buy Electronic Arts, Square (now Square Enix), and Nintendo. However, the deals ended up failing, but the managers remembered one for a long time.
Bob McBreen, who was in charge of Microsoft’s business development at the time, said the company went to EA first. The deal was unsuccessful, and Electronic Arts sent the Xbox division home with a “Thank you, no.”
The next meeting was with Nintendo. According to Kevin Bacchus, then Xbox’s third-party director, they only planned to find out if the Japanese were considering selling the company.
“They just died laughing. Just imagine that someone is laughing at you for an hour. This is how this meeting went, ”recalls Bacchus.
Then Microsoft wanted to attract Nintendo with its Xbox hardware, but Big N decided to run the business on its own.
After the storming of EA and Nintendo, Microsoft went to Square, the creators of Final Fantasy, and Midway Games, the publishers of Mortal Kombat. Square, then going through hard times, simply refused the deal, considering the purchase amount too low. At the same time, Midway Games agreed to join the Xbox, but Microsoft felt that this purchase would be meaningless for them.
“They were serious about selling, but we couldn’t figure out how to make it work. We would have taken them out of the PlayStation business immediately, but we didn’t need their sales and marketing teams, so the deal was of no value to us, ”says Bacchus.
As a result, for the launch of the Xbox, the company limited itself to buying Bungie, which caused controversy both within the company and outside it.
“I got a voicemail from Neil Nicastro, CEO of Midway, saying that we are the dumbest people in the industry and he could understand why we didn’t want to buy them, but why do we need PC game developers? Everyone thought it was stupid, “he said.
Microsoft Japan also thought Bungie’s purchase was stupid, as management thought Halo would sell poorly as a console shooter.