Oh snap! Who is Microsoft buying now? Valve? 2K? Sega? Sony ??
Rumors are circulating of another massive Microsoft acquisition on par with the recent Bethesda purchase. Since there are only a handful of companies large enough to warrant this kind of buzz, the internet is rampant with speculation.
Will it be Take-Two Interactive, whose catalog includes 2K sports games and franchises as notable as Grand Theft Auto, Civilization, Bioshock, and Mafia?
It may be Square-Enix, the creators of Final fantasy and Marvel’s Avengers. Or maybe it will be WarnerBrothers so that Xbox can add DC’s list of superhero games to its holdings.
And, if we’re going to make some crazy guesses that include people like Warner, why not put Sony in the mix? Everything is possible.
Better yet, let’s break the possibilities down into three simple categories: pragmatic, curved, and ridiculous.
The heavyweights on the bridge are Electronic Arts and Activision-Blizzard. Then come Take-Two and Ubisoft. Let’s start with these.
EA and Activision are intriguing, but ultimately a long shot. Microsoft has enough money to buy almost any business on the planet (which allows for legal discussions on mergers and fiscal maneuvers). But the company bought usually must want to sell. And it’s hard to justify giving up the reins of a massively successful business when things are going well financially.
I would rate the probability of an EA buy at around 10% and an Activision buy at 0.01% – I’m saying there’s a chance, but it’s a very small chance. Both are very profitable and there is no reason to believe that will change anytime soon. And, in the case of Activison-Blizzard, there is nothing but disgusting media coverage right now as the company finds itself in hot water because of a sexual harassment lawsuit. of the State of California.
It’s possible that Activision’s legal woes are making its board shaky, and a Microsoft buyout might sound tasty to scared billionaires. But there’s almost no conceivable reason for MS to buy out the company while it’s in the midst of the lawsuit, unless the price is ridiculously low.
There remains Take-Two and Ubisoft. We can potentially exclude Ubisoft for the same reason as Activision-Blizzard, as it is currently involved in its own harassment investigations. But Ubisoft is worth around 10 times less than Activision-Blizzard (Ubi’s cap: around $ 8 billion, AB’s cap: around $ 75 billion).
Microsoft could possibly gobble up Ubisoft for roughly what it paid for Bethesda.
Take-Two, on the other hand, would likely cost a lot Following.
Bethesda is worth around $ 3 billion right now and MS paid 7.5 for it. If we extrapolate that to Take-Two, which is worth a little over $ 20 billion, we could see it go up to $ 50 billion. It’s not beyond the reach of reality, but it’s definitely pushing it.
I doubt we’ll see Microsoft double or triple the amount it spent on Bethesda for any business, but stranger things have happened.
Here are some curved balls though
Square-Enix looks like a juicy fruit that is ripe for picking. With Dying Light 2 pushed back and who knows what’s going on with Final Fantasy XVI, it is possible that Square-Enix is looking for big arms in which to fall back. Sony is the obvious choice, but Microsoft’s war chest is bigger.
But you know what looks even more likely? A takeover of CD Projekt Red.
Of all the game companies worth anywhere near what Bethesda is, CD Projekt is probably the one in need of a giant cash injection the most. Cyberpunk 2077 cost the founders of the company more than a billion when it was snapped up. CD Projekt is starting to profit from the game now, but who knows what the real temperature is in the company’s back offices.
And then there’s Sega. The former console maker struggled to gain a foothold in the modern gaming era. That means Microsoft could potentially take over the studio for around $ 5 billion or so – not quite what it paid for Bethesda, but close enough. Considering the glut of Sega games currently on Game Pass, that doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch.
Now a little ridiculous
Let’s say it okay? Sony. Nintendo. Epic.
Whatever company Microsoft ultimately acquires, if any, there will be accusations that the Redmond company has become a monopoly. So why not go for it and swallow a direct competitor like Sony or Nintendo. Or take it a step further: catch the creators of Fortnite and the Epic game engine.
All three scenarios are wild, wacky, and just enough to make sense.
Conspiracy theory number one: Microsoft buys Sony and hands over console manufacturing tasks to the Japanese company so that it can focus on streaming games. The console war is officially over in 2028 when the Microsoft PlayStation 6 hits the market.
Conspiracy theory number two: Microsoft buys Nintendo, monopolizes handheld market, and Masterchief becomes superpowered addition to Smash bros.
Conspiracy theory number three: Microsoft buys Epic… something, something… for profit? I can’t imagine a scenario where Epic would sell, so this one makes the least sense to me. And it is outside the scope of this short article to discuss the overwhelming ramifications of this deal for the industry – based solely on what it would mean for MS to own the engine.
Our best guesses
Ubisoft feels like a dark horse and Sega and CD Projekt Red are mouthwatering bets. But the odds are probably better, we’ll see a smaller studio get ripped off. It’s getting harder and harder to find popular studios that aren’t already owned by Microsoft or Sony, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t whales yet.
Paradox Interactive has struggled a bit lately with Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 be delayed indefinitely. The company has been acquiring smaller studios at a decent rate since 2018, which makes it even more attractive as a buy. And its CEO recently resigned due to “divergent views on company strategy.” Add to this the fact that Paradox is already heavily invested in the Game Pass platform and I’m starting to feel like I should be preparing an article announcing the buyout just in case.
Finally, the one company that we haven’t talked about yet, but that would make the most of Reddit’s rumors that “internet lawyers” are going to spend a day in the field discussing the potential monopoly, is Valve.
An acquisition that would give Microsoft control of the Steam platform would certainly shake up the industry. It doesn’t seem likely, but neither does the Bethesda acquisition until it happens.
What do you think? Will it turn out to be little potatoes, a nothing-burger, or the biggest game story of the year?