Microsoft apparently eying Japanese studio acquisitions

Microsoft apparently eying Japanese studio acquisitions

Xbox maker Microsoft is reportedly looking to buy some developers in Japan.

That's according to Bloomberg, which says that a variety of studios in the region – both big and small – had been approached by the Big M about a potential acquisition. There's no word on which specific developers Microsoft has approached.

In the past, Xbox boss Phil Spencer (pictured) has said that he'd love to acquire a Japanese studio. This comes in the wake of the Big M splashing an awful lot of cash on developers in recent years. In 2018, the firm snapped up Playground Games, Undead Labs, Ninja Theory and Compulsion – and set up its brand new Santa Monica-based studio The Initiativein addition to RPG specialists InXile and Obsidian. The following year, it acquired adventure game firm Double Fine and has set up a new arm dedicated to its Age of Empire IP.

In September, Microsoft splooshed a huge $7.5bn on Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media, bringing the number of developers in the firm's first-party Xbox Game Studios stable up to 23.

Microsoft boss Satya Nadella said in the wake of that monstrous acquisition that it was still interested in buying more studios. The Big M's GM of games marketing Aaron Greenberg said that Xbox Game Studios had had a record year in terms of engagement.

Xbox's big console rival, Sony, has said that it might be looking to buy more studios in the future. The firm snapped up Ratchet & Clank developer Insomniac last year – and arguably had a strong first-party line-up in the first place – but Microsoft looking to buy a Japanese studio really shows the Big M infringing on Sony's home territory.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.