Microsoft Considered Buying Nintendo, Says EA Exec

In the corporate world, rare do you find a leader as charismatic and passionate as Peter Moore. Having entered the videogames business for the Sega Dreamcast, Moore eventually became the face and voice of the Xbox 360 before moving to his current position as the head of EA Sports.

Speaking to the Guardian’s Gamesblog in a candid interview, Moore shared some interesting bits about his journey from starting as a sports shoe mogul all the way through the hardware and software of videogames.

While it should surprise no one that Microsoft commonly considers buying out the competition, it’s still interesting to learn that the world’s largest software company at one point looked at acquiring Nintendo.In a lunch meeting with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Peter Moore was quizzed on his ideas on how Microsoft could best compete with Sony in the living room gaming space. One such topic was on the possibility of Microsoft buying out Nintendo.

“[Ballmer] wanted my attitude, he didn’t care what I’d achieved at Sega, he wanted to know how I was going to win for Microsoft, how we were going to take on Sony, how would we compete with – or acquire – Nintendo,” said Moore. “Those were the conversations in those days. It was a classic build or buy conversation.”

Of course, it’s unlikely that Microsoft would have ever been able to purchase Nintendo, hostile takeover or not; but if it had, it would have completely changed the landscape of gaming today.

Five years ago, Microsoft was plotting hard on how it may be able to overthrow Sony from its market leadership, and Nintendo was mostly ignored as a non-factor. Now, both Sony and Microsoft are battling it out for second place as Nintendo’s lead in the current generation as its Wii console makes it seemingly impossible to match.

“Xbox had launched but it was an aggressive black box for shooters, and how do we evolve that, how do we build the next Xbox, how do we get after Sony?” Moore added. “Interestingly, we were just completely fixated on Sony – Nintendo didn’t even come into the conversation.”

Peter Moore stepped down from his role at Microsoft during summer 2007, and is now the president of EA Sports.

Nintendo currently leads both the worldwide home console market with the Wii and handheld market with the DS. Microsoft now plans to integrate into the Xbox 360 features that it believes to make the Wii popular, such as cartoon-like avatars.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Pei-chen
    Will Nintendo is about 1/4 to 1/3 the size of Microsoft so I wonder how this will work if they act on it now. 30 billion in cash and 55 billion in sotck?
  • that would be bad... Nintendo is awesome
  • Master Exon
    What the hell? Microsoft considered that YEARS ago. Why did Tomshardware publish old news? This is like announcing the benchmarks for the new GeForce 5700...
  • jcorqian
    How the hell is Nintendo about 1/4 to 1/3 the size of Microsoft? Do you have any idea how big Microsoft is?
  • Having the cheapest console has a lot more chance to make you number one rather than cartoon-like avatars.
  • rocky1234
    Very true the cheapest console seems to be winning even if it is not the best one out there. People see the lower price & go hooyaa I'll take that one its got to be good its next gen too after all. NOTT!!
  • ajhen314
    I guarantee that the average consumer is not thinking that the wii is bargain next gen. I would say that 75% of wii owners bought the console after trying it out and found the games like wii play, wii sports, and wii fit fun. *cough*casual gamer*cough*. And who is to say that it isn't the best one out there. Just because it is not the most powerful does not make it any less of a console unless you are a graphics whore which is sadly most "hardcore" gamers. Graphics should be second to storyline and gameplay but sadly the industry does not feel the same way. The quality of today's games are slipping because people are buying based on looks rather than what really matters. While there are exceptions they only serve to prove the rule. Rocky1234 you are part of the problem.
  • jimmysmitty
    JCORQIANHow the hell is Nintendo about 1/4 to 1/3 the size of Microsoft? Do you have any idea how big Microsoft is?
    They are the largest software developer in the world. Thats how large.

    So maye next we will see the Wii Box 360......

    Actually it might not be such a bad move. It seems that Nintendo has moved from the normal gamer. They are not focusing on all aspects just some. Maybe this will bring a new console that is better and works good for everyone.
  • fuser
    For the Wii, it's all about the controller and the price.
  • Pei-chen
    JCORQIANHow the hell is Nintendo about 1/4 to 1/3 the size of Microsoft? Do you have any idea how big Microsoft is?
    Revenue: 1.672 trillion Yen or $16.7 billion
    Market cap: $85 billion

    Revenue: 60.420 Billion
    Market cap: 259.75 Billion