Microsoft considered Square Enix buyout, court documents reveal

Microsoft considered launching a bid to purchase Final Fantasy maker Square Enix, freshly-uncovered court documents have revealed.

The concept was floated amongst Xbox high brass again in 2019 – earlier than Square Enix bought its suite of Western studios, and earlier than Microsoft acquired entangled in its present tried $68.7bn Activision Blizzard buyout.

Documents displaying Microsoft’s curiosity in buying Square Enix surfaced at this time, as the corporate continues to plead its case with the Federal Trade Commission.

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Dubbed as “Project Phoenix”, the thought for Microsoft to purchase Square Enix was primarily based across the lure of proudly owning the writer’s three fundamental franchises – Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts – to realize a much bigger Xbox viewers in Japan, and a writer which launched video games on cell.

As with its subsequent acquisition of Elder Scrolls writer Bethesda, Microsoft deliberate to proceed releasing Square Enix’s then-announced video games throughout “all relevant platforms”, with “all future Square Enix releases” additionally launched into Xbox Game Pass on a day and date foundation.

Future Square Enix video games would additionally “preference Project Scarlett”, Microsoft wrote, referencing the event codename for Xbox Series X/S. Microsoft accepted that doing so would “cannibalise” some gross sales.

Details of Microsoft’s buyout try are attention-grabbing, however maybe not too shocking contemplating the information earlier this week that Microsoft has beforehand additionally mulled purchases of Sega and Destiny developer Bungie, amongst quite a few others.

Indeed, a merger evaluate watchlist from 2021 highlighted potential candidates comparable to Hitman studio IO Interactive, Pokémon Go maker Niantic, Hades developer Supergiant Games and extra.

In the years since 2019, Square Enix has – if something – cosied up nearer to PlayStation, with console exclusives such because the recently-launched Final Fantasy 16, and the upcoming PlayStation unique Foamstars.

Back in 2019, Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty stated Microsoft ought to “spend Sony out of business”, in one other doc revealed this week.

Microsoft’s historical past with buying studios (or being all for doing so) is within the highlight this week because the FTC considers the impression of Xbox proudly owning Call of Duty maker Activision.

The choice to make Bethesda video games like Redfall and Starfield Xbox exclusives is “powerful evidence” towards the Activision Blizzard takeover being authorised, the FTC has stated.

The trial continues.

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