SEGA speaks out about potential Xbox acquisition
Remember the legal battle surrounding Activision Blizzard acquisition that rumbled on for months? Doesn't that feel like a lifetime ago? As it happens, the fallout from Microsoft's $69 billion (with a b) purchase of the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher is still being felt, and discussed, across the industry.
That's partly due to the sheer volume of industry secrets that came tumbling out of emails, internal memos, and more as part of the FTC v. Microsoft case, including prior acquisition targets for Microsoft - including Nintendo.
Another potential target was SEGA, and the company's Chief Operating Officer has discussed the possibility of a deal happening.
SEGA COO on Microsoft deal: 'I don't think that kind of transaction is going to happen'
Speaking with CNBC about the success of the Sonic IP and wanting to replicate its success with other IP, Utsumi was asked about the potential for a Microsoft deal. "Many companies are interested. We feel honored," he said.
Hyping the SEGA catalogue and its place in the industry, Utsumi continued, "We have attractive IPs and potentials. Companies owned by the owner. A strong owner. I don't think that kind of transaction is going to happen."
The news comes after internal emails from 2021, where Xbox boss Phil Spencer asked Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Microsoft CFO Amy Hood for their approval to broach talks with SEGA about a potential acquisition. This was in hopes to "accelerating" the growth of Game Pass.
SEGA isn't for sale...for now
The company is owned by the SEGA Sammy Corporation, itself a merger of two companies from 2004, and has seen plenty of success in recent years.
In the interview, Utsumi said the company is "looking for opportunities for growth" and reminded us of its own recent $775 million acquisition of Angry Birds' Rovio. By the sounds of it, SEGA considers it self too big to be gobbled up right now.
SEGA remains best known for Sonic The Hedgehog, one of gaming's most familiar faces, but is also responsible for the likes of Persona, Yakuza, Like A Dragon, Company of Heroes, Football Manager, and more. Now, SEGA is looking to grow itself.
In the last couple of weeks, the publisher launched the latest Like A Dragon title, The Man Who Erased His Own Name, and Persona 5: Tactica, with Football Manager 2024 just before that. In a year where many third-party publishers have slowed output, SEGA continues to release titles at an impressive cadence.
As for me, I'm still hopeful we'll get a new Virtua Fighter at some point soon...