Microsoft's Gaming Ambitions: Secrets of Phil Spencer's Acquisition Wishlist

In a leaked 2020 email, Xboxs Phil Spencer expressed interest in acquiring Nintendo, Valve, and others. However, regulatory hurdles and Nintendos strong financial standing make such acquisitions unlikely.

In a surprising revelation, Microsoft's ambitious acquisition aspirations have come to light, expanding beyond what was previously known. A leaked internal email from 2020, reportedly disclosed by Microsoft itself, sheds light on Xbox chief Phil Spencer's interest in acquiring not just Nintendo but also gaming giants like Valve, Warner Bros.' network of video game studios, and Zenimax, the parent company of Bethesda, which Microsoft eventually acquired. According to the leaked email, Microsoft's Board of Directors expressed "full support" for the idea of acquiring Nintendo and/or Valve should the opportunity arise.

Microsoft and Nintendo have yet to officially comment on these developments.

In the leaked email obtained by IGN, Phil Spencer expressed his profound belief in Nintendo, stating, "[Nintendo] is THE prime asset for us in gaming, and today, gaming is our most promising avenue to establish consumer relevance."

These revelations have surfaced amid a massive email leak related to the Federal Trade Commission's attempt to thwart Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The leak has exposed a wealth of information, including hints about Nintendo's next-generation console, creating an embarrassing situation for one of the gaming industry's titans.

Prior reports had indicated that during the legal battle between Microsoft and the Federal Trade Commission over the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Phil Spencer had also set his sights on Sega and Square Enix, the renowned creators of Sonic and Final Fantasy, respectively.

However, it's important to note that such acquisitions would likely face intense scrutiny from regulators, making them highly improbable. The acquisition of Nintendo, in particular, would mark the largest merger in gaming history. Nintendo, on the other hand, seems unlikely to entertain such offers. According to the email exchange between Spencer and Microsoft's Chief Commercial Marketing Officer, Takeshi Numoto, Nintendo is financially robust and does not necessitate a deal of this magnitude. Nonetheless, a substantial stockholder could potentially sway Nintendo towards considering such a proposition, and for Spencer, acquiring Nintendo would be a monumental career achievement.

Spencer also noted in the email that it has been a gradual process for Nintendo to realize that their future extends beyond their proprietary hardware. Nintendo's hardware has played a pivotal role in amassing substantial financial reserves. Forbes reported that the Nintendo Switch has sold an impressive 129.5 million units, ranking as the third best-selling console in history, dwarfing the Xbox One's 58 million and the Series X/S's 20 million units.

Spencer, however, acknowledges that without a compelling catalyst, a near-term mutually agreeable merger between Nintendo and Microsoft seems unlikely. He expressed reservations about pursuing a hostile acquisition strategy, emphasizing the importance of playing the long game.

In addition to the email correspondence between Spencer and Numoto, a trove of leaked FLuzala documents has unveiled Microsoft's plans, including a mid-generation Xbox refresh slated for 2024 and the release of a new hybrid Xbox in 2028. Furthermore, the leaked documents have unveiled Bethesda's game release schedule, featuring highly anticipated titles such as The Elder Scrolls 6, Dishonored 3, and Doom Year Zero.

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