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Xbox boss Spencer reportedly saw Nintendo acquisition as his ‘career moment’

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Microsoft Gaming chief Phil Spencer reportedly sees acquiring Nintendo as a “career moment.” This is according to leaked documents from the FTC v. Microsoft case, which reveal that Spencer sent an email to the company’s Chief Marketing Officers Chris Capossela and Takeshi Numoto in 2020 discussing his plans for the future of Xbox.

In the email, Spencer said that Nintendo was the “prime asset” for Microsoft in gaming and that the company had a “big pile of cash” that made it unlikely to go looking for buyers. However, he was confident that if there was an American company capable of acquiring Nintendo, it was Microsoft.

Spencer also noted that Microsoft’s board of directors had been “heavily acquiring” Nintendo shares and was “fully supportive” of an acquisition if the opportunity arose.

Microsoft has a long history of trying to acquire Nintendo, but the company has been unsuccessful so far. In a Bloomberg article published in 2021, Xbox co-creator Kevin Bachus said that Microsoft once asked Nintendo if it was willing to be acquired and got “laughed out of the room.”

In the leaked email, Spencer said it was “taking a long time for Nintendo to see that their future exists off of their own hardware.” He ended the email with a smiley face, suggesting that he was willing to play the long game.

It is unclear if Spencer still has plans to make another attempt at acquiring Nintendo. Microsoft is currently in a legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission over its proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

My thoughts:

Spencer’s interest in acquiring Nintendo is understandable. Nintendo is one of the most successful video game companies in the world, with a strong brand and a loyal fan base. Acquiring Nintendo would give Microsoft a significant boost in the gaming market and allow it to compete more effectively with Sony and other rivals.

However, it is important to note that Nintendo is a very independent company with a strong culture. Nintendo has a long history of resisting acquisitions, and it is unlikely that the company would be willing to be acquired by any company, including Microsoft.

Even if Microsoft was able to acquire Nintendo, it is unclear how it would be able to integrate the two companies. Nintendo has a unique corporate culture and a very different approach to game development than Microsoft. It is possible that the two companies would clash creatively and culturally, which could lead to problems down the road.

Overall, it is interesting to see how Microsoft is positioning itself for the future of gaming. The company is clearly interested in expanding its portfolio and becoming a major player in the mobile gaming market. However, it is unclear whether acquiring Nintendo is the best way for Microsoft to achieve these goals.

Additional thoughts:

It is worth noting that the leaked email was sent in 2020. It is possible that Spencer’s views on acquiring Nintendo have changed since then. It is also possible that Microsoft’s legal battle with the FTC over the Activision Blizzard acquisition has made the company more cautious about pursuing other acquisitions.

Only time will tell whether Microsoft will make another attempt to acquire Nintendo. However, it is clear that Spencer sees Nintendo as a valuable asset and that he is interested in expanding Microsoft’s presence in the gaming market.

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