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News video games 27 June 2023, 11:30

author: Adrian Werner

Microsoft's Astounding Shopping List Includes Sega, Paradox and IO Interactive

Thanks to court documents, we learned the list of studios that Microsoft wanted to acquire. It included teams such as Bungie, Bohemia Interactive, IO Interactive and 11 bit studios. Publishers such as Sega and Paradox Interactive were also considered for buyout.

Source: IO Interactive

Last week in California began the hearing on approval of Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard. It turned out to be a real treasure trove of knowledge regarding the corporation's plans. Thanks to it, we learned new things about, among other things, the current stage of work on The Elder Scrolls VI and the abandonment of plans to release the upcoming Indiana Jones game for PlayStation consoles. Now, thanks to the inclusion of evidence from Microsoft's internal correspondence, we learned the list of studios that the company was eager to acquire.

The documents outline the company's development strategy. Microsoft wants to buy PC and console developers who have popular brands of their own and specialize in those categories in which the Xbox division is lacking. Preference would be given especially to teams whose games would increase the number of Game Pass subscribers. Among the mobile acquisition candidates, on the other hand, the priority is mainly experience in creating hits and the potential ability to leverage the many brands owned by the Redmond giant.

In total, a list of more than 100 major developers was prepared, including companies such as CD Projekt, Hello Games and From Software. However, this was not a realistic list of potential acquisition targets, but merely an analysis of the most interesting studios on the market. However, the correspondence also included more serious proposals concerning 20 studios, for which it was recommended that efforts be made to buy them out.

Microsoft's dream list of studios and companies to acquire:

  1. 11 bit studios
  2. Behaviour Interactive
  3. Bungie
  4. Crytek
  5. Housemarque
  6. IO Interactive
  7. Larian Studios
  8. Manticore Games
  9. Niantic
  10. Paradox Interactive
  11. People Can Fly
  12. Playdead
  13. Playrix
  14. Rebellion Developments
  15. Remedy Entertainment
  16. Scopely
  17. Sega
  18. Supergiant Games
  19. Thunderful
  20. Zynga

It's worth noting that the correspondence dates back to early 2021. So we don't know how Microsoft's plans have changed since then, at what stage discussions with potential acquisition targets are at, or whether they have been undertaken at all.

A lot has changed in the market since then, after all. For example, the document lists Bungie and Housemarque, which have since been bought out by Sony. Zynga, on the other hand, was acquired by Take-Two Interactive.

The funny thing is that Microsoft considered buying out Bungie, as the team was owned by the company for many years, but the studio regained its independence in 2007.

It also raises the question of how badly Microsoft's purchase plans have been affected by problems in finalizing the Activision Blizzard acquisition. The plans were announced at the beginning of last year, but the company has so far failed to obtain approval from all major competition authorities in various countries' markets.

It's easy to imagine that Microsoft has decided to hold off on further purchases until the Activision Blizzard acquisition is finalized, and because of this, quite a few attractive opportunities were lost. In particular, an attempt to buy up more publishers, such as Sega or Paradox Interactive, would look bad in a situation where various regulatory bodies are concerned about the Redmond giant gaining too strong a foothold in the gaming market.

  1. Microsoft - official website

As an interesting aside, it is worth mentioning that thanks to the documents from the hearing we learned, that Microsoft paid $117 million in 2018 to acquire the famed Hellblade by Ninja Theory.

Adrian Werner

Adrian Werner

A true veteran of the Gamepressure newsroom, writing continuously since 2009 and still not having enough. He caught the gaming bug thanks to playing on his friend's ZX Spectrum. Then he switched to his own Commodore 64, and after a short adventure with 16-bit consoles, he forever entrusted his heart to PC games. A fan of niche productions, especially adventure games, RPGs and games of the immersive sim genre, as well as a mod enthusiast. Apart from games, he devourers stories in every form - books, series, movies, and comics.