Internal documents have revealed that Microsoft had ambitious plans to acquire a range of developers, including Sega and Bungie.
In addition to Xbox head Phil Spencer's testimony, the ongoing legal battle between the US Federal Trade Commission and Microsoft over the latter's plans to acquire Activision Blizzard has led to the revelation of a range of confidential documents. Among these was an email from Spencer sent in 2020 outlining a strategy to "accelerate Xbox Game Pass" through the designation of "acquisition targets" (via The Verge).
Though the email focused on Sega, it mentioned "informing our next strategic acquisition target", a theme that would be developed in another document revealed during the trial. A 2021 document revealed a list of companies that Microsoft had in its sight for acquisition as part of Xbox Game Studios. Among them were Bungie, IO Interactive, Supergiant Games, Niantic, and Zynga.
Suffice it to say, these companies are big names within the industry. IO Interactive is renowned for the Hitman series, while Niantic's Pokémon Go has amassed fans from around the world. Zynga is a dominant force in the mobile market while Bungie's Destiny 2 continues to thrive even six years after release.
Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard has attracted a great deal of scrutiny from governments across the world over concerns that it would allow Microsoft to promote a monopoly in the cloud gaming market. The UK's own Competition and Markets Authority flat-out blocked the deal, while the European Union's own body only permitted the deal to go ahead with some significant caveats.
The tech giant has taken great pains to allay concerns of monopoly building, offering a range of deals with competitors, including a historic agreement with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to the Japanese video game company's consoles.
Despite these concerns of monopoly building, Xbox Game Pass remains a great deal for consumers, offering a wide range of games ranging from single-player experiences to multiplayer. It's well worth checking out if you haven't already.
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Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.
Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure.
Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.