Internal documents provided during Microsoft’s ongoing court case against the US Federal Trade Commission reveal that the company considered buying Bungie, Sega, IO Interactive and several other studios at one point. Microsoft is still battling to approve its proposed $69 billion purchase of Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard, which the FTC is seeking to block. New documents have come forward in the case that sheds more light on Xbox’s past plans to acquire more developers for the Xbox Game Studios family.
As reported by Video Games Chronicle, Xbox boss Phil Spencer emailed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and CFO Amy Hood in November 2020, requesting approval to approach Sega with a proposal to acquire the Japanese company. Spencer cited Sega’s “global PC catalogue”, strong mobile presence in Asian countries and notable brand affinity on consoles through its numerous IPs.
The email exchange from Spencer, provided by The Verge, reads:
“We believe that Sega has built a well-balanced portfolio of games across segments with global geographic appeal, and will help us accelerate Xbox Game Pass both on and off-console. Sega is the most attractive next acquisition target due to its global PC catalog, presence on mobile in Asia, and global brand affinity on console through its classic IP.”
A few more studios appeared on Microsoft’s watchlist for potential acquisition including Destiny developer Bungie, Hades developer Supergiant Games, Hitman developer IO Interactive and Pokemon Go studio Niantic. Additionally, developers Thunderful, Playrix and Scopely were also under consideration.
Microsoft also spent a lot of time in discussions with mobile developer Zynga before it moved onto other studios. “In the end for our opportunity, we thought we needed to have something that was even bigger than Zynga was given our very small starting space in the mobile business,” said Spencer.
Source: Video Games Chronicle