EA would be an even bigger purchase than Bethesda (pic: EA)
Insider rumours suggests that Microsoft has another studio acquisition in the pipeline and people are worried at who it could be.
It’s no secret that Microsoft is on the hunt for more studios to purchase, to help bolster its Game Pass service, and it sounds as if it’s already hooked onto another major acquisition.
Recently, a supposed industry insider posting on the XboxEra forums claimed that they had heard rumours of a number of acquisitions that will become public this year. They even implied that they were on the same level as the Bethesda buy-out.
A more reputable Xbox insider, KingRagnar, added some credibility to the rumour, saying that he’s been hearing the same thing over the last few months and that an announcement will be made either at the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.
Respected journalist Brad Sams, who said only last week that some big names in the industry were being approached by Microsoft, was asked about the rumour too. He responded with only the smirking face emoji, which suggests that the rumour is related to what he’s heard.
Naturally, the conversation has shifted to which studio could Microsoft feasibly be buying. One popular theory is that it’s EA, which would make some sense. The two companies already have a close working relationship, with the EA Play service already available as part of Xbox Game Pass.
However, some have pointed out that EA is far bigger than Bethesda, so it wouldn’t match up with the claims of it being a Bethesda-sized purchase, which cost Microsoft nearly £6 billion.
Other top choices include Square Enix and CD Projekt. The former would certainly improve the Xbox’s standing in Japan, which Microsoft is eager for.
But that’s much easier said than done. Square Enix has close ties to Sony, with the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series’ almost synonymous with PlayStation consoles despite being multiplatform. Both Final Fantasy 16 and Project Athia are to be timed PlayStation 5 exclusives as well.
Japanese law also makes it very difficult for foreign companies to buy Japanese firms outright.
CD Projekt certainly seems feasible. The company has taken quite a hit following the launch of Cyberpunk 2077, with analysts even suggesting that it could be bought out as a result.
Regardless, many aren’t exactly thrilled with the idea of Microsoft scooping up other publishers. With there also being talk of Amazon and Google looking to do the same there are fears of the industry becoming undergoing a sudden period of consolidation that will leave only a few giant-sized companies owning everything.
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