Microsoft Acquiring Nintendo: Email From Xbox’s Phil Spencer

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has expressed a strong desire to acquire Nintendo at some point. In an August 2020 email exchange with two high-ranking Microsoft marketing executives, Spencer emphasized that “Nintendo is the ultimate asset in the gaming industry” and believed that such an acquisition would be a pivotal moment in his career, benefiting both companies.

These emails came to light as part of a collection of leaked documents during the FTC v. Microsoft lawsuit. In one of the emails, Takeshi Numoto, an executive, posed a “random thought” to Spencer and Chris Capossela, questioning why Microsoft wasn’t more inclined to pursue acquisition targets like Nintendo as a means to enhance their presence and relevance in the consumer market. It’s worth noting that, at the time, Microsoft was in talks to acquire TikTok, a move Numoto didn’t see as the most fitting option.

Phil Spencer email about acquiring Nintendo.

“I’ve had numerous conversations with the LT of Nintendo about tighter collaboration and feel like if any US company would have a chance with Nintendo we are probably in the best position,” Spencer wrote, where “LT” is presumably shorthand for leadership team. He added that Microsoft’s board of directors “has seen the full writeup on Nintendo (and Valve) and they are fully supportive on either if opportunity arises as am I.” Spencer also shared that the company was in “fairly active M&A discussions” around ZeniMax Media (which resulted in a deal that was announced a month later) and Warner Brothers Interactive (which did not go through).

Prior documents in the case had unveiled Microsoft’s contemplation of acquiring various other studios, such as Bungie (currently under Sony’s ownership), Sega, and Square Enix. The latest set of leaked documents has now disclosed a fresh design concept for the Xbox Series X along with undisclosed games attributed to Bethesda.

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