Microsoft Wanted To Out-Buy Sony With Bungie, IO, Sega, and Others
It was recently reported that Microsoft had its sights set firmly on some top-tier developers and publishers a while ago. It was part of a plan to expand the firm’s audience and bolster its Game Pass service, and in some cases, these acquisitions came remarkably close to being achieved.
We’ve seen a few documents surface, from matrices that show a ‘target list’ for Xbox Game Studios to internal emails that detail how determined executives were to acquire certain studios. It could have been a case of Microsoft seeking to out-buy Sony and PlayStation, acquiring as many big gaming names as possible in a relatively short period of time, but for the most part, it was never realised.
Thanks to The Verge, an internal email from Phil Spencer has been circulated – yet another document to emerge from the FTC v. Microsoft hearing that has already uncovered so much previously-unseen information. In this email, we see an email from Spencer to a list of executives that included the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella.
It was dated November 10th, 2020, and it spoke about the ‘potential acquisition’ of Sega. It was highly detailed and showed that extensive work had been completed, including discovery and financial estimates. In response to that email, David Hampton, General Manager at Microsoft, simply said ‘Game on’.
In total, it was suggested that Microsoft was eyeing up a total of 17 companies for acquisition, but there was an original list floating around (according to IGN) that totalled more than 100 studios and publishers. It was reportedly narrowed down to the likes of:
IO Interactive (Hitman)
Scopely (Monopoly GO)
Bungie (Destiny, Marathon)
Zynga (FarmVille, Words with Friends)
Playrix (Gardenscapes, Fishdom)
Niantic (Pokémon GO)
Supergiant (Hades, Bastion)
Thunderful (Steamworld, Viewfinder)
Would any of these publishers and developers have done better under Microsoft’s banner?