Nintendo have replied to rumours floating around since yesterday that Microsoft wants to buy the Japanese games company with a big flat No.
Nintendo’s chief of public relations Yasuhiro Minagawa said “Nintendo is not on sale, and there is no such talk at all.” In fact, Microsoft have not even contacted Nintendo about a possible deal.
So where did the rumours come from? German finance magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported Bill Gate’s comments from the sidelines of a press conference: “If Hiroshi Yamauchi phones me, I will pick up at once,” he said.
Nintendo are a very Japanese company – America is a reasonably large market for them, Europe have historically not been a priority, but they are unstoppable in Japan. Microsoft, on the other hand, are a very American company – they have no understanding of the Japanese market. The size of the XBox, the games they’ve released in Japan, even the games they’ve cancelled in Japan, demonstrate this. Even if they had a hands-off approach in their home territory, the brand would be irrevocably damaged. Western gamers, all too aware of the rubbish that gets released under the Atari brand these days, would also know the difference.