Xbox boss denies report of Japanese studio acquisition talks


Xbox chief Phil Spencer has poured cold water on a recent report which suggested there was evidence Microsoft was seeking to make studio acquisitions in Japan.

“Several Japan-based game developers, from small to big, said [Microsoft] had approached them about buying their businesses,” Bloomberg [paywall] wrote last week. “They asked not to be identified as the talks were private, and declined to give details on how the discussions went.”

But when questioned on the report today in a video interview with Gamespot, the boss of Xbox said it was “not accurate”.

Here’s Spencer’s full answer:

“I don’t think so. We’re usually not out there… I say I don’t think so, I mean, I’m not in every meeting that every team has. I’ll say not from me.

“Most of the opportunities that we’ve had to date have been for a long-lasting relationship. So I don’t think we’re out there with our business cards throwing them out on the corner trying to find people.

“I’ve talked about my affinity for Japanese studios and the thinking back in the day when we had more games in Japan created as part of our first-party. I’m excited when the deal closes to spend more time with Tango [Gameworks] and the work that they’re doing. So it’s an area I’m interested in, but no, I don’t think… That’s not accurate.”

The Tokyo-based Tango Gameworks will become part of the wider Xbox Game Studios family when the deal to buy its parent company Zenimax (owner of Bethesda) goes through next year.

Elsewhere, it’s interesting to note Spencer’s mention of opportunities which have arisen from long-standing relationships. Prior to Microsoft’s eventual announcement it would buy Zenimax and Bethesda, reports suggested Bungie was another acquisition candidate.