Microsoft’s internal emails showed that the corporation thought of buying SEGA and Bungie, two of the biggest game publishers and creators, for its Microsoft Xbox Game Pass subscriptions.
Microsoft’s plans to expand Xbox Game Studios through possible acquisitions were revealed in an internal search document presented as evidence in the ongoing FTC v. Microsoft hearing regarding Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard King. The documents state that at one point, Microsoft was thinking about buying Bungie, Sega, Niantic, and five other studios for its Xbox Game Pass subscriptions.
According to the documents, Xbox first generated a list of 100 developers based on several factors before reducing that number to eight final contenders. The final list included Hitman creator IO Interactive, Pokemon GO creator Niantic, mobile gaming juggernaut Zynga, Destiny developer Bungie, and Hades developer Supergiant Games.
Each company that Xbox was closely evaluating is documented in detail, along with information on any potential risks to their existing IPs as well as their upcoming games. There are also some intriguing details in the document, including a reference to Bungie’s enigmatic “Matter” IP and evidence that IO’s next fantasy shooter is indeed the rumored “Project Dragon.”
Microsoft’s big plan to expand Xbox’s collection
According to a report from Verge, Microsoft Gaming CEO and Head of Xbox Phil Spencer asked for strategy clearance from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Microsoft CFO Amy Hood in 2020 to explore the prospect of purchasing Sega’s gaming studios from Sega Sammy. Microsoft anticipated that a deal with Sega would boost the amount of Xbox Game Pass subscribers on PC, mobile, and cloud platforms.
Destiny was one of the most played games on Game Pass in terms of player hours, according to Microsoft. The company believed purchasing the studio, the company would be able to secure not only the studio’s valuable IP and devoted fan base but also the ability to integrate its live operations infrastructure with the other Xbox Game Studios. These records demonstrate Microsoft’s long-standing interest in a variety of mobile game developers, but it is uncertain whether the company engaged in negotiations with any studio.
Bungie has limitless potential to unite friends around the world.
We have found a partner in PlayStation that shares our dream and is committed to accelerating our creative vision of building generation-spanning entertainment.
— Bungie (@Bungie) January 31, 2022
Xbox’s proposed acquisition of Bungie would have seen a reunion of the two companies following their split in 2007. Bungie had been a Microsoft-owned studio since 2000 and played a major role in the success of the Xbox console line with its marquee shooter franchise up until the studio was acquired by Sony for roughly $3.6 billion in July 2022, bringing with it the Destiny series.