In brief: The Microsoft vs. FTC hearing has revealed some more interesting details about the Redmond giant. Internal documents show that Microsoft considered acquiring Bungie, Sega, and others to help expand the Xbox/PC Game Pass library. Elsewhere, one executive said the company was prepared to "spend Sony out of business" in the fight for subscriptions.
A 2020 email from Xbox chief Phil Spencer to both Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Microsoft CFO Amy Hood requested approval to approach Sega Sammy about a potential acquisition of Sega gaming studios.
"We believe that Sega has built a well-balanced portfolio of games across segments with global geographic appeal, and will help us accelerate Xbox Game Pass both on and off-console," Spencer wrote.
The idea behind the acquisition was to expand Game Pass' global appeal through the addition of Sega's IP, especially in Asia.
An internal Microsoft document showed that Sega was still an acquisition target in April 2021, as was Bungie (Microsoft owned the company between 2000 and 2007), mobile giant Zynga, Hitman developer IO Interactive, Pokémon Go creator Niantic, and Hades studio Supergiant Games. Microsoft was looking at Bungie for the Destiny IP and community, but the studio was eventually bought by Sony in 2022 after Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard. Zynga, meanwhile, was acquired by Take-Two.
Another interesting item from the hearing involves an email from Microsoft Xbox Game Studios chief Matt Booty. He wanted the company to spare no expense when it came to acquiring game content in 2019 to compete with Sony in subscriptions. "We (Microsoft) are in a very unique position to be able to go spend Sony out of business," he wrote in a message to Xbox CFO Tim Stuart.
The email also references other companies and their ability to compete with Game Pass. Booty said that Microsoft's content was a "moat" others could not cross, with Sony the only real competitor, and Game Pass had a 2-year and 10 million subs lead.
Microsoft argues that the email is three and a half years old and that it never tried to spend Sony out of business, though it did acquire Bethesda for $7.5 billion and may eventually own Activision Blizzard.
For more revelations from the hearing, including Microsoft admitting it lost the console wars, Starfield almost being PS5-exclusive, and Activision possibly not receiving PS6 dev kits, check out this article.