I try to be an optimist in life, and that includes my career and the coverage I lead at IGN. I’d rather celebrate good games than tear down flawed ones. I’d rather look at the games I’m most excited about than cry over the ones that aren’t made yet. And in the case of Microsoft’s in-progress case against the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC), I’d rather see what it would look like for Team Xbox to win the case than lose it.
However, since a loss is within the realm of possibility (you can laugh at that if you’ve been following the case closely, given the amount of wrong trees in the forest that FTC lawyers are trying to argue with Xbox executives in stand up, but there are unknowns), I think it’s important to look at what Microsoft’s contingency plan might look like if the US government successfully blocks Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard-King (ABK). Obviously, the following is all speculation, but let’s see what Microsoft might do if this case doesn’t pan out.
Option 1: Try to buy Square Enix
If I learned nothing else from this test, I learned that ABK’s King (read: mobile) arm is a bigger part of it for Microsoft than I, a core gamer who doesn’t particularly care for mobile gaming, gave it. of credit for. Don’t believe me? Microsoft’s testimony in this case revealed that the company first tried to buy mobile gaming giant Zynga before Take-Two ride and made a deal. Microsoft also considered flashing some money to the punch Square Enixlargely due to the Japanese gaming powerhouse’s strong mobile gaming lineup.
Option 2: Try to buy Capcom
While fellow Japanese publishing mainstay Square Enix may not have as strong a mobile portfolio, it does have a mobile presence with games like Monster Hunter and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney already on the market. And Capcom’s core-gaming franchises probably outweigh the comparative weakness in the mobile department with established IPs like Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Devil May Cry, the aforementioned Monster Hunter, the sleeping Dead Rising and Mega Man, and more. Xbox, after all, needs more Japanese development talent in its growing portfolio.
Option 3: Try to buy Ubisoft
The French publisher has fought acquisition attempts in the past and right now, I’m sorry to say, the company said struggling. Ubisoft has both a robust mobile portfolio as well as a wealth of core-gaming franchises that Microsoft can either keep for itself or continue publishing on PlayStation, reaping profits for itself in the process. Furthermore, Ubisoft is also the biggest source of talent in the incredibly fertile Montreal market, with the company’s Ubisoft Montreal studio having been notably responsible for the likes of Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, Prince of Persia, and many others around the world. year. If Ubisoft is feeling a bit woozy, financially, Microsoft can surely offer them a soft pillow, a blanket, and a bowl of chicken noodle soup to help them feel better, both short-term and long-term.
Option 4: Invest heavily in new, in-house, mobile-focused studios
In all fairness, Microsoft will likely do so if it hasn’t already, regardless of what it chooses to do and what verdict may come from the FTC trial. Sure, it takes more time, and the ride isn’t always smooth (see: The will), but homegrown can be creative and financially rewarding. To put it in a very simple way, growing organically beyond its own studios is generally cheaper, but takes longer.
However the FTC trial comes out, you can bet on it: Microsoft won’t just put that $69 billion back in its pocket if the deal falls through. They may not spend the full amount of money, but they will be active. What else can Microsoft do? Put your thoughts on what Team Xbox could reasonably do (rather than what you expect them to do) in the Comments below, and stay tuned to IGN for up-to-the-minute coverage in this historic trial for the video game industry, including next week’s expected verdict.
Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s executive editor of previews and host of both of IGN’s weekly Xbox shows, Podcast unlockedas well as our monthly(-ish) interview show, IGN Not Filtered. He’s from North Jersey, so it’s “Taylor ham,” not “pork roll.” Debate it with him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan.
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