Xbox chief Phil Spencer was so enthusiastic about the idea of Microsoft acquiring Nintendo that he considered it a defining “career moment.” This intriguing revelation comes to light through leaked documents from the FTC v. Microsoft case, where an email sent by Spencer in 2020 to Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officers Chris Capossela and Takeshi Numoto has emerged. In this email, Spencer passionately discussed why Nintendo represented the ultimate gaming asset for the tech giant, positioning it as Microsoft’s golden ticket to maintain its relevance among consumers.
In Spencer’s eyes, Microsoft was the American company best suited to take the reins of Nintendo. However, there was one significant obstacle: Nintendo was seemingly sitting on a substantial financial cushion, making it less inclined to actively seek out potential buyers. Nevertheless, Spencer saw a glimmer of hope on the horizon. He pointed out that Nintendo’s board of directors had been rather conservative, refraining from aggressive expansion in the market for quite some time. Yet, he hinted at a potential shift in this stance, driven by Microsoft’s very own board member, investment company ValueAct Capital, which had been steadily amassing Nintendo shares and displaying unwavering support for a merger if the opportunity arose.
This pursuit of Nintendo isn’t a new chapter in Microsoft’s history. A fascinating tidbit emerged when Bloomberg published an oral account of the Xbox’s genesis for its 20th anniversary in 2021. It was revealed that Microsoft had once approached Nintendo with the proposition of acquisition, only to be met with uproarious laughter. As Xbox co-creator Kevin Bachus recounted, it was as if they had walked into a room and endured an hour-long laughter marathon. Microsoft had also attempted to convince Nintendo to entrust it with the hardware aspect, allowing the Japanese gaming giant to focus solely on game development. However, this effort also ended in failure, with Nintendo firmly resisting the idea of a merger.
In his email, Spencer expressed the view that Nintendo needed to recognize that its future extended beyond its proprietary hardware. He seemed willing to play the long game, as indicated by a seemingly optimistic sign-off. Yet, it remains uncertain whether he still harbors intentions of pursuing another merger attempt.
Currently, Microsoft is embroiled in a legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding its proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which was announced early in 2022. The FTC has filed a lawsuit to block this merger, citing concerns about its potential adverse effects on competition within the gaming market. The outcome of this legal showdown will undoubtedly shape the future landscape of the gaming industry, possibly even eclipsing the allure of the Nintendo dream that once captured Phil Spencer’s imagination.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Merger Aspirations
What was Phil Spencer’s view on acquiring Nintendo?
Phil Spencer was highly enthusiastic about the prospect of Microsoft acquiring Nintendo, considering it a significant “career moment.” He believed that Nintendo represented a prime asset for Microsoft in the gaming industry, and he saw Microsoft as the ideal American company to acquire Nintendo.
Why did Phil Spencer think Nintendo was a valuable acquisition?
Phil Spencer believed that Nintendo was crucial for Microsoft’s continued relevance in the gaming market. He saw Nintendo as a treasure trove of gaming expertise and intellectual property, making it a strategic asset for the tech giant.
Did Microsoft previously attempt to acquire Nintendo?
Yes, Microsoft had previously made efforts to acquire Nintendo. In the past, the company approached Nintendo with acquisition proposals, but these attempts were met with laughter and were unsuccessful.
What role did ValueAct Capital play in the potential acquisition?
ValueAct Capital, an investment company and a Microsoft board member, had been actively acquiring Nintendo shares and expressed full support for a merger if the opportunity arose. This indicated potential backing from within Microsoft’s own ranks.
Why did Nintendo resist previous acquisition attempts?
Nintendo resisted previous acquisition attempts, including proposals to handle hardware while leaving game development to Nintendo, due to its preference for maintaining independence and control over its gaming ecosystem.
What is the current legal battle involving Microsoft?
Microsoft is currently involved in a legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding its proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The FTC has filed a lawsuit to block this merger, citing concerns about its potential impact on competition within the gaming market.
More about Merger Aspirations
- Microsoft’s Phil Spencer considered Nintendo acquisition a “career moment”
- Leaked email reveals Phil Spencer’s thoughts on acquiring Nintendo
- The story behind Xbox’s attempt to acquire Nintendo
- ValueAct Capital’s role in potential Nintendo acquisition
- Microsoft’s legal battle with FTC over Activision Blizzard acquisition