It has been a difficult console generation for Microsoft. The PlayStation 4 is handily outselling the Xbox One to the tune of 73 million units sold compared to 35 million. This has prompted Microsoft to seek answers, and a specific one it’s circling is the possible acquisition of a major game developer to secure more Xbox exclusives.
Microsoft recently promoted Xbox head Phil Spencer to vice president of gaming, and his number one task is to secure more exclusive games. The combination of a lack of exclusives and the disparity of sales numbers with the PlayStation 4 is making the move of an acquisition more possible by the day.
Let’s not forget Nintendo has stolen much of the console limelight with the Switch’s success. If the PlayStation 4 doesn’t curtail the backend life of the Xbox One, the Switch is surely threatening to.
According to four analysts Polygon talked to, Microsoft must act soon or else it risks falling further behind, cementing a loss with this generation of consoles.
With at least a reported $130 billion available to make the acquisition happen, Microsoft won’t pass up an opportunity even if it’s on the rich side. Some of the developers being considered by Microsoft include Electronic Arts, Valve and PUBG Corp. EA alone would cost about $35 billion, but it would be a huge move.
This would secure a studio with major licenses (NFL, FIFA, Star Wars) while possibly cutting off an avenue for Sony if Microsoft opted to make EA games exclusively for the Xbox and PC. It makes sense for Microsoft, but not so much for EA as it relies on business with multiple platforms. The PUBG acquisition may be bolstered by the partnership the two companies currently share. PlayerUnknown’s Battleground recently made its debut as an exclusive for the Xbox.
Right now Microsoft is still exploring the idea. A move may happen soon, but nothing is definitive at this point.