Phil Spencer Says Xbox Buying Nintendo Would Be A “Career Moment,” But Don’t Bet On It

The massive Xbox leak has revealed an email from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer in which he discussed how it would be a “career moment” to acquire Nintendo. In the same email, Spencer also mentioned Warner Bros. Interactive and Valve as potential acquisition targets.

This follows earlier documents that came to light showing that Microsoft at least considered making acquisitions of Bungie, Square Enix, and Sega.

In the newly discovered email by The Verge, which is dated to August 6, 2020, Spencer is replying to Microsoft marketing executives Takeshi Numoto and Chris Capossela on an email chain with the subject “random thought.” Spencer said that Nintendo is “THE prime asset for us in gaming.”

Spencer said he already had “numerous conversations” with Nintendo’s leadership team about a “tighter collaboration” between the two companies. He added that, “If any US company would have a chance with Nintendo, we are probably in the best position.” Microsoft and Nintendo recently reached a 10-year deal to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo if the Microsoft buyout of Activision Blizzard closes.

But a full-on buyout of Nintendo? Don’t bet on it happening soon, if it ever does.

Spencer went on to acknowledge that Nintendo is “sitting on a big pile of cash” thanks in part to the huge success of the Nintendo Switch and might not be receptive to the idea of an acquisition by Microsoft. Spencer did note, however, that a former Microsoft Board of Director member, Mason Morfit at ValueAct, has been acquiring Nintendo shares, and this would “create opportunities for us,” Spencer said.

Finally, Spencer said the opportunity to buy Nintendo may never come to bear. Without the “catalyst” of some kind of involvement with Morfit, Spencer said, “I don’t see an angle to a near-term mutually agreedable merge of Nintendo and MS, and I don’t think a hostile action would be a good move, so we are playing the long game.”

However, Spencer said Microsoft’s Board of Directors has seen a “full writeup” on Nintendo and Valve, noting that Microsoft’s Board of Directors is “fully supportive on either if opportunity arises as am I.”

Spencer also discussed how Microsoft was, at the time, in “fairly active” discussions to buy Warner Bros. Interactive and ZeniMax. The ZeniMax deal closed, with Microsoft paying $7.5 billion for the company, but a deal for Warner Bros. Interactive (now Warner Bros. Games) did not come together.

The big Xbox leak also revealed images of an Xbox handheld device, a mid-gen Xbox console, and future consoles beyond that, as well as unannounced games like Red Dead Redemption II for next-gen consoles and Dishonored 3, among many others. It’s worth noting that these documents very well might be out of date and not representative of Microsoft’s current plans. Keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.

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