Reports: Microsoft considering EA acquisition

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Polygon has asserted that a “Reliable source close to Microsoft” believes that the Xbox One platform-holder is thinking about acquiring Electronic Arts.

The speculation that Microsoft – cash-rich, as ever – is looking to acquire a games publisher (according to Polygon, “whispers” suggest it may also be interested in Valve and PUBG Corp), has been fuelled by the fact that the Xbox One has lacked exclusive games in comparison with Sony’s PlayStation 4.

This year, Xbox One fans can anticipate the exclusives Sea of Thieves (currently in a closed beta phase), Crackdown 3 and State of Decay 2. But PS4 owners can look forward to the Shadow of the Colossus remake, God of War, Detroit: Become Human, Death Stranding, Spider-man, The Last of Us Part II and Days Gone.

Acquiring EA and thereby stalwart franchises like FIFA, Madden, Star Wars: Battlefront,
Battlefield and the upcoming Anthem would massively improve Microsoft’s in-house portfolio of games, although if it made any of those franchises Xbox One-exclusive, that would cause a major uproar among gamers.

Another factor fuelling the rumours that Microsoft is likely to make a major acquisition is the promotion, in late 2017, of the company’s Phil Spencer to Executive Vice-President of Gaming. Last year, Spencer told Bloomberg: “Our ability to go create content has to be one of our strengths. We haven’t always invested at the same level. We’ve gone through ups and downs in the investment.” Which strongly suggests that the Seattle giant is keen to splash some cash on an acquisition.

There’s no doubt that the Xbox One’s relative lack of exclusives compared to the PlayStation 4 has been a major factor in Sony winning this round of the console war: over 73 million PlayStation 4s have so far been sold and, while Microsoft refuses to give sales figures for the Xbox One, it is believed to have shifted roughly 35 million units. If and when rumours that Microsoft is working up to a major acquisition turn into something concrete, we will keep you fully informed.

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Steve Boxer
Steve Boxer has been writing about videogames since the early 1990s. His first console was an Atari VCS, and he misspent most of his youth in the 1980s in the arcades. As well as for Green Man Gaming, he can be found writing for The Guardian, Empire, TechRadar and Pocket-Lint. He’s currently having trouble deciding whether his favourite console is his Xbox One X or his Switch, and plays a wide range of games, but especially RPGs (he loves a good JRPG) action-adventure titles, shooters of all descriptions and driving games. Follow him here.