In a recent buzzworthy rumor, IGN has reported that Microsoft could be in the works for some big acquisition. The rumored companies names in the article are PUBG Corp, EA and Valve. While I should not this is just a rumor, more likely than not, especially with IGN, where there’s smoke there’s fire. So whether the acquisition does or doesn’t take place, I’m more likely to believe talks are happening.
Things like this are always exciting to some and downright bad new bears to others. But when I think about EA and the public perception of them, I can’t see a Microsoft acquisition of them being bad news to the public. As for PUBG Corp. there’s a known relationship there so it makes the most sense, especially with Microsoft’s past acquisition of Mojang and the hit game Minecraft, which we’ll get into later in the article.
I think the most surprising name on this list and the least likely to happen is Microsoft’s acquisition of Valve, the popular company behind the PC Games publishing platform Steam and hit games such as Half-Life, Team Fortress, DOTA, Portal, Counter-Strike and many more goliath franchises.
So while these are just rumors, here’s my take on the likelihood of each acquisition, why it makes sense (or doesn’t make sense) and what it means for games.
Microsoft Acquires PUBG Corp.
The rumors that Microsoft could be looking to acquire PUBG Corp. wouldn’t be a huge surprise for gamers.
First, there’s a known relationship between the two companies. Microsoft worked to get PUBG onto their console first and pushed it as an Xbox One X featured game, adding a very competitive game to it’s roster and one that really complemented what they’re trying to achieve with the Xbox One X and the Xbox Pro Controller. To PUBG’s credit, they were already a sensation on the PC market and took the opportunity to grow it’s player base even further on the Xbox platform. For the most part, the relationship has been very successful for both parties. In fact, it was recently reported that PUBG had hit 3 million players on Xbox.
We’ve also seen Microsoft make a move like this before, acquiring Mojang and the hit game Minecraft for $2 billion dollars. So it wouldn’t be entirely out of the question for Microsoft to make a similar purchase of PUBG Corp.
Microsoft Acquires EA
Microsoft is also rumored to be acquiring Electronic Arts. While this is less likely than Microsoft Acquiring PUBG Corp. it would make sense for a number of reasons.
EA and Microsoft have had a noticeably good relationship with each other, even going as far as to share the stage at E3 this year. They both have also launched similar products, with Microsoft subscription service called Xbox Game Pass, and EA’s subscription game service EA Access, a Microsoft exclusive service.
For Microsoft, this would be an extremely competitive move for two reasons.
The first reason this would make Microsoft hugely competitive is the acquisition of EA Sports. For years, EA has dominated the sports video game market. “E-A Sports. It’s In The Game” has been imitated by gamers all across the world. The Acquisition of EA Sports would give Microsoft an almost monopoly-type grip on sports video games, making their platform that much more enticing. Another aspect to buying something like EA Sports would be its acquisition of Fifa.
Microsoft hasn’t had as much success as PlayStation in European countries. One of the most popular games there is EA’s Fifa, the hit professional soccer game. If Microsoft owned Fifa, that would mean putting the Xbox and Microsoft name in front of PlayStation players, if they were to still allow for EA games to be played on PlayStation consoles. Which, I assume they would as they still allow Minecraft to exist on PlayStation consoles.
The second reason this would make them extremely competitive is the acquisition of Star Wars exclusivity. Star Wars alone is a billion dollar franchise and recently EA was given the exclusive video game rights to building all the Star Wars games. If Microsoft were to acquire EA they would get the right to making Star Wars games, depending on contractual obligations. An acquisition might actually lose EA the right to Star Wars games but that’s a whole other story.
The good news about Microsoft getting Star Wars is they’ve had experience with a billion dollar space franchise in Halo. Plus with all the bad press that Star Wars Battlefront got, the franchise can’t go anywhere but up. And with Phil Spencer at the helm, I can’t see them flubbing the game again.
With both companies spearheading “games as a service”, it makes sense to merge efforts for the future of gaming, which might not come to full fruition until the next console generation.
Microsoft Acquires Valve
Microsoft has also been rumored to be acquiring Valve, game company behind the PC publishing platform Steam and hit games such as Dota, Half-Life, Counter-Strike and many more.
In my opinion, the likelihood of this happening is very low. While it makes all the sense in the world for Microsoft, it doesn’t quite make sense for Valve. But here’s why it could work.
Microsoft recently (relatively) introduced its Play Anywhere program. With Play Anywhere, Microsoft has been making their Xbox Exclusive games available on both console and PC. It’s very clear that Xbox has been making moves to get more involved in the PC gaming market. Valve is arguably the leader of PC gaming with their publishing platform Steam, having the largest catalogue of PC games in the world. So an acquisition makes sense on that level from a Microsoft point of view.
The thing that doesn’t really connect here is why Valve would be interested in selling? They seem profitable enough with massive games like Dota and Counter-Strike leading he way as well as their Steam Platform. So why sell?
One thing that’s been interesting to me is their handling of Half-Life 3. It makes me wonder if there’s an issue as to why they aren’t breathing life into those big game franchises they became known for. And with Microsoft looking for first part games, could they be the answer to Valve’s issue, whatever it is, as to why they aren’t releasing those games?
Another issue I see is that there’s hasn’t been a know relationship with the two companies. While we’ve seen public displays from Microsoft, EA and PUBG Corp, there hasn’t been much between Valve and Microsoft.
But more often than not, where there’s smoke there’s fire and much crazier things have happened.
One thing is for certain if Microsoft does acquire Valve you can be 100% sure Half Life 3 will be available as soon as possible. No way Microsoft sits on a franchise like Half Life with the market to clearly ready for the game.
My Final Thoughts On The Microsoft Acquisition Rumors
I’m not a fan of any one publisher or console. But the idea that Microsoft, who is arguably an underdog this console generation, finally flexes their financial muscles as one of the biggest tech companies in the world is interesting to me.
I think that the acquisition of PUBG Corp. makes the most sense and best aligns with their current strategy for the Xbox One X and that is the focus on multiplayer and competitive. Which we’ve seen with products like the Xbox One X and the Xbox Pro controller. And then again, we’ve seen this happen before with the acquisition of Mojang and Minecraft.
I really love the idea of Microsoft acquiring EA. I think EA has a number of awesomely competitive franchises. I think that both companies are focusing on the future of gaming and I think this move doesn’t just set up Microsoft now but more in terms of the next console generation. Last console generation Microsoft really dominated and this console generation we’ve seen PlayStation take top spot. So I think that a move like this would really put them in a competitive and successful position for the next console generation.
As far as Valve goes, this would be the most surprising to me. It’s well known Microsoft want to get in on the PC market but there hasn’t been much to connect the two companies. While Valve is making bank with their more competitive games, it’s weird that they haven’t made new games like Portal or Half-Life even with so much known demand for the games. So is Microsoft the answer to that? I think Microsoft could breathe life into some old game franchises while the acquisition of steam could make them a heck of a ton more competitive on the PC gaming market.
All in all, this is just a rumor but with such big companies in the mix here, this could mean the future of gaming and the future of the gaming industry. Right, so I think it’s an important conversation to have. So in saying that, what I want to hear from you guys is, not what most likely to happen but what would you be most excited for if any one of these acquisitions were to happen.