EA, or Something Else Totally Insane
Let’s kick this article off by just addressing the elephant in the room right away. The Polygon report that went out yesterday specifically name-dropped EA as a company that Microsoft would consider acquiring. Of course they would though, obviously, if it were feasible, why wouldn’t Microsoft at least explore or look into acquiring a company like EA? They would instantly have a stable of popular games that could give the Xbox One some much-needed ammunition to compete with Sony and Nintendo on console exclusives. However, the likely exorbitant cost, and potential issues with licenses (don’t forget, Disney and the NFL work with EA), would all be serious hurdles that would need to be figured out. Still, the thought of games like Anthem, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Star Wars, Madden, and FIFA all being exclusive to the Xbox One or future consoles from Microsoft is just bonkers.
A company like Ubisoft might be slightly easier to pull off, and that would give Microsoft access to franchises such as Watch Dogs, Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, and Just Dance. Maybe not as varied as EA’s offerings, but for some, that lineup might be even more appealing.
I don’t want to even think about the shitstorm that would go down if Microsoft somehow pulled off owning Square Enix and all future Final Fantasy and Kingdom Heart games. I seriously don’t even want to talk about that.
You can run down a few other of the biggest publishers such as Activision-Blizzard, 2K Games, and Bethesda, and yeah, while Microsoft would be thrilled to have them on board, logistically it would be extremely difficult to pull off for the same reasons as EA. Acquiring Activision-Blizzard or EA, in particular, would probably be incredibly complex and extra difficult to do, even more so than the others. So rather than rattle off a who’s who of major game publishers for this list, which would be predictable and mostly uninteresting, let’s instead look at some middle-tier publishers and developers. These acquisitions would still make a huge splash, but are a little more in the realm of possibility.
Although again, EA’s name is being tossed around. So if you can Microsoft, totally go ahead and acquire them or anyone else you want.
Let’s move on by digging up an old fun rumor.
5 Companies Microsoft Should Acquire to Fix Their Exclusive Problem Instantly
Back when the Dreamcast was floundering, and before Microsoft formally entered console gaming with the Xbox, the bigwigs in Seattle floated the idea of outright acquiring SEGA. This would allow them to instantly have a company to produce hardware for them under their belt, without having to actually spend the money to produce it themselves. This, of course, never happened.
Fast-forward to 2018, and if it’s indeed true that Microsoft is interested in acquiring someone, SEGA could still make a lot of sense. SEGA has perhaps one of the most diverse, and beloved IPs of any publisher. SEGA games have appeal not only in Japan (not that Microsoft really seems concerned about that market anymore but still), but also in the United States, Europe and worldwide as well. Right out the box, they would have an internationally recognized mascot in Sonic, a steady stream of highly acclaimed JRPGs thanks to Atlus (assuming that would come along for the ride), a MMO in Phantasy Star Online that English-speaking countries have been begging for years for, and all of the classic retro IPs that get nostalgia bones tingling. And all of that is just scratching the tip of the iceberg for the sake of keeping the word count in this article down.
SEGA has done a lot since the commercial failure of the Dreamcast to rebuild its reputation and become a stable and respected publisher. If Microsoft could find a way to make SEGA’s properties exclusive to the Xbox One and beyond, that would be a huge home run.
Like any other publisher on this list, however, it would take obscene amounts of cash to tear SEGA away from its close partnership with Nintendo, and Atlus with Sony. Which again, is the perfect time to remind everyone that all of these entries are kind of crazy, but Microsoft is one of the few companies out there with enough cash to pull something like this off.