Having originally kicked off in January 2022, Microsoft's ongoing attempts to acquire Activision Blizzard feel like they’ve been rumbling on forever.
Since the company behind Xbox announced its plans to bring the publisher of titles ranging from Call of Duty to Overwatch on board for $68.7 billion, it’s been grappling with legislators around the world to gain permission to close that deal.
Currently, the company is facing scrutiny from the American Federal Trade Commission in court, with the proceedings, which have already been very newsworthy, having just revealed a shortlist of studios Microsoft has considered acquiring to try and boost the popularity of Xbox Game pass.
Do any of the studios on Microsoft’s freshly revealed potential acquisition shortlists surprise you?
As reported by The Verge, the latest session of the Microsoft/FTC hearing featured some internal emails from November 2020, in which Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer requested approval from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and CFO Amy Hood to approach Sega Sammy regarding the potential acquisition of its Sega Gaming Studios.
“We believe that Sega has built a well-balanced portfolio of games across segments with global geographic appeal,” explained Spencer in the email, outlining that adding these to Microsoft’s portfolio would potentially “help us accelerate Xbox Game Pass both on and off-console.”
While the released emails didn’t reveal how far any acquisition proceedings between the two parties actually got, or even whether Spencer’s request was approved by Nadella and Hood, a watchlist from 2021 released alongside them did name a number of other studios that had also been under Microsoft's consideration.
This list includes Destiny 2 developer Bungie, which has since been acquired by Sony, Hades developer Supergiant Games, and IO Interactive, the studio behind the Hitman series, as well as Zynga, Niantic, and Thunderful Games.
Also released was another list, dubbed “Developers to Watch,” which is potentially more recent and featured the likes of No Man’s Sky developer Hello Games, Hollow Knight developer Team Cherry, and Striking Distance Studios, who were behind The Callisto Protocol.
As proceedings continue, it’s important to remember that July 18, 2023, the date which would see Microsoft and Activision Blizzard forced to enter proceedings to renegotiate the terms of the deal in order to extend the deadline for it going through, is fast approaching.
If a preliminary injunction is granted, the FTC will be able to bring about a separate legal challenge to the deal, currently timetabled for August 2, before it closes.
Regardless of what you think of this titanic legal tussle, make sure to check out our coverage of the game series it affects, including our array of guides to the latest developments in Warzone and Modern Warfare 2, with Season 4 having recently kicked off in the latter.