Nintendo Boss Comments on Microsoft Relationship Following Leaked Acquisition Email

Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser says the company's relationship with Microsoft remains "great."

Last month, a number of Microsoft's confidential emails leaked online. Among those emails was one written by Xbox boss Phil Spencer, who openly spoke about a desire to see the company acquire Nintendo. In the email, Spencer laid out the logistical difficulties, but noted that "getting Nintendo would be a career moment." Since then, many have been wondering about any potential impact those comments might have on the relationship between the two companies. In an interview with Inverse, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser was asked for the first time about Spencer's comments. 

"We have a great relationship with Microsoft. We consider them to be partners in many, many ways, and you only have to look at Nintendo Switch to see that partnership. Obviously, Minecraft is on Nintendo Switch, and we brought Banjo Kazooie to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. So, we're looking forward to that partnership continuing," said Bowser. 

Nintendo and Microsoft

Bowser specifically mentions Minecraft on Switch and Banjo-Kazooie in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but the relationship between Nintendo and Xbox has produced even bigger results during the Switch era. While PlayStation initially fought against enabling cross-play, Microsoft and Nintendo fully embraced the option, and even participated in a marketing campaign that argued that gaming is "better together." That campaign seemed to put pressure on Sony, who eventually relented, allowing cross-play as an option in various online games, including Minecraft. The relationship between Microsoft and Nintendo even resulted in GoldenEye 007 coming to both Nintendo Switch Online and Xbox Game Pass, making the N64 classic accessible again for the first time in decades. 

Xbox has always wanted to take that partnership further, but it will likely never happen. Nintendo has long had a "war chest" of funds to help them even in difficult times, and the company has had a massively successful few years. Switch continues to sell well after more than six years on the market, and Nintendo has expanded the popularity of its franchises through its partnership with Universal, which has led to The Super Mario Bros. Movie, as well as Super Nintendo World attractions at Universal Studios. 

Acquisitions in the Video Game Industry

Bowser's comments were part of a broader question from Inverse about the growing trend of acquisitions in the video game industry. Over the last few years, Microsoft has spent billions to acquire both Bethesda and Activision Blizzard, and PlayStation similarly spent quite a bit on Bungie. Nintendo has been a lot more conservative about buying up studios, focusing instead on established partners like Next Level Games, the team behind Luigi's Mansion 3 and Mario Strikers: Battle League. There has been some concern about the impact of consolidation on players, but Bowser points to the growing number of new studios as a positive sign. 

"As far as consolidation in the industry goes, I've been a part of this industry for 16-plus years now. One thing that's been constant is the acquisitions of studios. But the other constant is the fact that new studios are popping up every single year. Incredibly creative studios are making content, from indie-sized to AAA-sized games. So as consolidation happens, on an equal basis, we're seeing these new studios, which really just speaks to the dynamic nature of the industry overall. In the end, that bodes well for the player," Bowser told Inverse. 

Do you think Microsoft will ever buy Nintendo? Have you been happy with the relationship between the two companies? Share your thoughts with me directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp or on Instagram at @Dachampgaming!