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Satya Nadella: Microsoft will consider buying more video game companies

Xbox Bethesda Image
Xbox Bethesda Image (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft recently announced that it intends to acquire ZeniMax Media.
  • This means that the Bethesda Softworks games library is coming to Xbox Game Pass.
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says Microsoft will consider buying more video game companies in the future.

Microsoft shocked the video game industry with its recent news that it intends to acquire ZeniMax Media, meaning that Bethesda is joining Xbox and adding its games library to Xbox Game Pass, which recently crossed 15 million subscribers. Now, it appears that even with 23 studios as part of Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft may not be done yet.

In an interview with CNET, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says that moving forward Microsoft will consider buying other video game companies, noting that "You can't wake up one day and say, 'Let me build a game studio.'" Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft Phil Spencer added that "Content is just the incredible ingredient to our platform that we continue to invest in."

Back in July 2020, Spencer stated there had been "no signal" from Microsoft to slow down on acquiring studios. Microsoft was reportedly interested in acquiring WB Games, alongside Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive. AT&T later decided not to sell WB Games for the time being.

Regardless of what moves Microsoft makes, mergers and acquisitions will continue to take place across the video game industry. Embracer Group continues to acquire large numbers of studios and IP. Sony, which owns major Xbox competitor PlayStation, was reportedly interested in acquiring Leyou Corporation, the parent company of studios like Splash Damage. Sony was then reportedly outbid by mega-conglomerate Tencent, who are currently in negotiations for Leyou.

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Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.

38 Comments
  • Sega would be a huge buy and a way into the Japanese market.
  • Take2 Interactive aka 2K. Especially, now that the NFL is not exclusive to Madden come 2021!
  • It isn't? I thought they signed a new deal? Or was that just till '21?
  • Madden has a deal...just no longer exclusive.
  • This is bad, before Sony and mostly Microsoft were buying independent studios, there is actually benefit for us gamers with this, because a studio entering a publisher gets benefits like more money and normally those studios get expanded, so we end with better games, buying publishers on the other doesn't change a bit, most a new publisher can be good or bad. This is terrible, Microsoft just decided to buy their competition out, we gamers are ******, even if Sony could compete in this competition we would just end up with a huge division.
    But more realisticly Microsoft will try to buy most companies and create a full on Netflix type service with low budget live service games filled with MTX. This is something that only blind fanboys would support. Microsoft is being extremely anti-consumer, raising the price of Live Gold was already super bad, but this in the long run is worse then the DRM **** Microsoft tried to do.
  • You're probably the only person to think this way about this acquisition!
  • Call the drama police someone is having a moment! For the entire X one generation people have complained about games games games. Now they are buying studios which will bring the games and people still are whining!
  • Microsoft isn't competing with PlayStation nor Nintendo or any other platform. They are growing the Gaming industry that is becoming more expensive. Who doesn't want to be owned and funded by a trillion dollar company. Sony not having money doesn't mean it's bad for Sony.
  • Everyone has been hammering Xbox for years about its poor exclusives. So now you're complaining it will have too many? Zenimax/Bethesda we're making all the wrong moves but now there is a good chance they and their franchises will be saved from further decline.
  • Doom Eternal was pretty good
  • Except for the deceptive DRM debacle
  • He's a Sony fanboy. Anything positive for Microsoft and it's fans is a huge negative for him. Just ignore.
  • What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
  • You're not wrong. Most people on here are too busy being tribal and gloating that their team might buy their way to victory to see the writing that's on the wall.
  • It's not even worth responding to them, they aren't even realizing how bad this will be for them in the long run, if I could get all the games I love from Playstation, Microsoft, Nintendo and every third-party publishers and indies for 15$ a month while keeping the same quality then I would be super happy, because ultimately what I care about is games and if I can get them in a more affordable way the better. And they say that Amazon, Google and Apple are the real competitors, while Amazon hasn't made a single move, Google launched a dead platform and Apple failed at selling a subscription for mobile games. Sony could even compete with cloud streaming, they have PS Now for years, if they decided to push it I'm certain they would get big numbers (and they wil push it), they just can't compete if Microsoft buys everything.
  • I understand that you're worried about monopolisation through this kind of consolidation. But it’s only bad if there is no competition, and there is… a lot. Amazon, Apple, and Google all have much more money than Sony, and they will be pushing increasingly into this space and establishing their own platforms. Microsoft can see this is going to happen and are preparing for it. If Sony or Nintendo fail in this future gaming space, one of those companies will buy them. The competition will continue to be fierce, and this is good for the consumer.
  • That's a great point that those focused on the old-school Xbox vs PlayStation competition seem to be missing.
  • I guess Sony should not have forced Microsoft into doing this with all their exclusives. Now Sony can't outbid others to get more exclusives. Sony doesn't have billions in the bank and they are headed down the drain; it will take a few years, but they will lose market share because they will not have as many exclusives as Microsoft.
  • They (Sony) have $33B+ in cash or cash equivalent on hand. Of course, acquisitions aren't always cash deals, sometimes they are stock deals or both. I don't look at Sony as their sole competition, they are in competition with Valve, Sony, Nintendo, and the other large publishers. Xbox as a hardware doesn't really sell, which is why you will see Microsoft continue to expand to Steam and other devices. Microsoft will have to continue if not expand to other devices to make money i.e. Steam, Playstation and Nintendo hardware. People are not coming back to buy Xbox hardware, actually sales continue to go down... they have been worst than the original Xbox in the last 3-4 years, this year will be an all time low... basically around only a million unit run right i.e. Windows Phone.
  • Why can't people just embrace good competition rather than bash? Aren't you the person that said that Xbox was almost through and was going to be sold off and that Phil Spencer would be out of a job soon? Xbox series pre-order sold out everywhere says hello to you 😂
  • Yes, that was the person that said that. It isn't even worth responding to this person at this point. Just ignore.
  • Yeah more equivalent than cash actually.... But anyway comparing Sony and MS financials... You can be SNE CEO, MSFT has you beaten by long run and you can't deny it... And leverage what cloud? Either they fork cash to Amazon MS or Google to run any service concerning cloud gaming...
  • @Goncalo
    Totally agreed, you just said everything. ofc these XB "fans" will celebrate this. This is great ammo for their stupid console war.
    Taking a 3rd party studio who were already making games and just putting the "XB label" on these games. This is more of MS's gaming budget that is not going towards gaming and making games.
    Instead of this, the best would have been was to use that money to make their own studios and games, and keep these 3rd party games available for all. But MS fanboys don't care about games/gaming that much, their priority is MS and their console war.
    They would rather want 3rd party games delayed or "only on XB" than MS building their own studios and making their own games and let everyone get the 3rd party games...
  • Didn't know Netflix had MTX?
    What you were saying was said about Netflix...
    Bottom line for most people it's more convenient and more value than buying 4kBR or going to the movies... And Netflix's productions have nothing to be ashamed of compared to old media productions...
    The only barrier for now is technological and or structural... If tomorrow I get lossless 4k streaming with atmos uncompressed sound and all it's game over for the other vectors of distribution...
    Here it's the same what you are saying could be true, but it's 8nly one very pessimistic version of the possibilities here.... Remember MS has no issues entering the software market by the small door pretty sure they'd offer Xbox game pass or at least xcloud on the PS5 if Sony would let them, MS has money Sony can't dream of for they gaming division and money is good for developing AAA games, MS products running software or even software running on other non MS platforms are way more present in the everyday life of millions potential targets so way more point of entry to the service than Sony can ever dream just with the PS market.... I can see million ways that it would be a great thing for gamers... Like steam or better gog is for PC the former was also damned by people like you during its early days...
    So yeah I'd like to think it will be the same here... And why wouldn't it be? I mean there is probably more money to be made this way long term, but it also ensure a stable source of revenue which allows for more freedom in the present, more creativity, more risk with less impactfull consequences... But furthermore it builds up brand equity and that's usually a good thing for everybody... Sure it will suck if Sony gets hit from that... Just as much as it did to me when Sega got hit by Sony indirectly... Or even Nintendo... But it doesn't mean it will suck...
  • Hmmm... Maybe buy Bungie.
  • Or Lionhead. Gratuitous words to hit post minimum.
  • One thing that's heartening to see is all those people who were continually posting that Microsoft, led by the anti-consumer Nadella, would abandon Xbox at any moment have seen how wrong they were and have all come out posting retractions and apologies. Oh, hang on, apparently not a single one of them has done so. No one could have predicted that.
  • I'd like to see Asobo Studios join the Xbox family and see them make A Plague's Tale: Destined.
  • Game Pass has so many gaming genres covered now, but there is a lack of stealth focused games like Perfect Dark or Splinter Cell, and for reasons I will never understand, there are basically no platformer games (despite owning the Banjo IP).
  • I think you need to check again. There’s even a category for platformers. Both Ori’s. New Lucky’s Tale, Yooka Laylee, Indivisible, Hollow Knight to name a few. Dishonored 2 is an excellent stealth game.
  • Yes! 😇more games for windows 10
  • Certainly no fewer. To be fair, Bethesda and id have always been Windows-first developers.
  • I think Sony is in trouble, they don't have the cash to throw around to build more content. They are getting out bid in trying to get more exclusives. Which is ironic since they have been the ones trying to have AAA exclusives. They will not have as many exclusives as Microsoft in another year and the year after that they will get buried.
  • Microsoft will have to release those games generally speaking multi-platform, as their hardware doesn't sell. So... you will see Microsoft continue to release on PC (Steam and Windows Store) and probably to a degree on Playstation and Nintendo devices i.e. they are now another large publisher/developer. (I suggest you look at a company's finances before you claim they don't have cash... hint)
  • Well now their hardware will sell since now they have the power and the games.
  • Sony financials fundamentals is anything but in good shape they've been selling assets and divisions left and right to have cash... À good bunch of shareholders would love to dismentle the company... For a hardware company that it was you can't seriously try to make a comparison with MSFT financials... Regardless of the console war... Sony has still excellent products in some divisions especially pro equipment and the entertainment division of which PS is part... But the company has been struggling to keep up and stay afloat for years... The only reason they have cash is because they cut the fat not because they are good shape
  • Who's next? My guess is whomever Google, Tencent or Amazon begin targeting. Sony doesn't have the bank account to throw their hat in the ring. If Google would of purchased Zenimax/Bethesda do you think those games would be available on other platforms other than Stadia? Hella no. We should be glad to have dodged that bullet. XBox has the cash to combat the big banked companies trying to buy their way into the market. I find it funny that PS owners are upset that ES6 and Fallout(X) may be console exclusives to XBox/PC. That it hurts gaming. Well, I sure as heck would like to play Spiderman on my XBox and that ain't a happening.
  • It will be a great day when we can all download the (xCloud) app on our tv, roku, pc, ps6, switch3, phone, etc and just stream games! That's the future.