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Xbox chief Phil Spencer wanted Microsoft to buy Nintendo in 2020, according to internal email

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Even as Microsoft awaits a decision from UK regulators to see if it can finally close its deal to buy Activision Blizzard, Xbox chief Phil Spencer clearly wanted the company to acquire an even bigger gaming company a few years ago: Nintendo.

B Internal email from 2020 Leaked as part of the massive FTC filing, Spencer stated that “Nintendo is the PRIME asset for us in gaming today.” He also writes that he has had “numerous discussions” with Nintendo about “closer cooperation” in the future and that “if any American company has the best chance with Nintendo, we are probably in the best position.”

He also said that such a purchase “will be a career moment and I really believe it’s a good move for both companies.” However, he was also honest when he stated that Nintendo might not be interested, as Spencer said it was “sitting on a big pile of cash”. However, he thinks Nintendo can be convinced that “their future is in their hardware,” but it could take “a long time” for that to happen.

Spencer also mentions in the email that they’ve had discussions about acquiring Warner Bros. Games in 2020. He mentions that the big problem with that publisher is that Microsoft won’t own any of its IP, like the Batman and Harry Potter titles. Eventually, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Media, which includes all Bethesda Softworks developers and titles, in 2021 for $7.5 billion. So far, the results of that acquisition have been mixed, with solid titles like Hi-Fi Rush and Starfieldand disappointments like red fall.

We wonder if a Microsoft deal to buy Nintendo will actually happen. Even if the two companies agree to do so, it will face tons of regulatory scrutiny at a level that would make Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition pale in comparison.


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