Microsoft was considering a massive slate of video games developers and publishers as potential acquisition targets, a new exhibit filing from the FTC v Microsoft federal court case reveals.
Before it settled on trying to buy Activision-Blizzard for $68.7 billion, Microsoft had over 100 gaming companies on its list for M&A consideration. The list is part of a confidential internal Xbox Game Studios M&A briefing from April 2021 that was published as a public exhibit in the FTC v Microsoft federal preliminary injunction case.
In the slide deck, which is woefully outdated by over 2 years, Microsoft outlines what it considers to be some of the top choices for potential mergers and acquisitions buyouts in April 2021, including Japanese games publisher SEGA, Destiny and Halo developer Bungie, Elden Ring and Dark Souls developer FromSoftware, Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt RED, No Man's Sky developer Hello Games, Hitman developer IO Interactive, Crysis developer Crytek, Warframe developer Digital Extremes, Divinity and Baldur's Gate 3 developer Larian, Control and Alan Wake developer Remedy Entertainment, Dying Light developer Techland, Borderlands developer Gearbox, and many more.
Below we have a sampled list of some of the most recognizable names on slide deck. Note that a portion of these studios are no longer available for acquisition, including Bungie who was purchased by Sony Interactive Entertainment for $3.7 billion,
- Bungie (owned, Sony Interactive Entertainment)
- CD Projekt RED (independent)
- Certain Affinity (independent)
- Crytek (independent)
- 4A Games (owned, Embracer Group)
- Digital Extremes (owned, Leyou Technologies)
- FromSoftware (owned, Kadokawa Group, Sony owns minor share stake)
- Gearbox (owned, Embracer Group)
- Hello Games (independent)
- IO Interactive (independent)
- Larian (independent)
- People Can Fly (independent)
- Remedy Entertainment (independent)
- Starbreeze (independent)
- Techland (independent)
- 505 Games
- Focus Home Interactive
- Paradox Interactive
It's important to note that these companies were M&A considerations and not on a final watchlist.
Microsoft only had a select few game devs on the final list, including Bungie, IO Interactive, Supergiant Games, and Thunderful.