A new rumor suggests Microsoft is looking into acquiring Electronic Arts (EA) to bolster its slate of exclusive games for the Xbox One. It's no secret that Microsoft has been struggling with developing and publishing a steady stream of Xbox exclusive games, especially compared to Sony's catalog for the PlayStation 4, which includes titles such as God of War, Spider-Man, and The Last of Us: Part II. That doesn't mean, however, that Microsoft doesn't have their own exciting titles on the horizon.
Xbox players can look forward to games such as Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 releasing this year. While those games may sell exceptionally well, they don't pose much of a threat to the competition. The lack of exclusive games is certainly an issue, but publishing first-party titles may not actually be Microsoft's fundamental goal anymore. With the release of the Xbox One X, and the talking points about giving consumers the best hardware to play their games on, it seems that Microsoft is shifting away from a content-based strategy and more towards a technology-first strategy. Still, they need exclusive games to keep their consumers interested in titles that aren't available everywhere else - and acquiring a major third-party studio could be their answer to that predicament.
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A recent article from Polygon indicates Microsoft's interest in acquiring a major third-party studio to prop up its exclusive games. Among the names listed are Valve, Electronic Arts, and PUBG Corp. While Microsoft has toyed with acquiring Valve and PUBG Corp in the past, EA is the most recent company that's landed on their radar.
Although it wouldn't be their first major acquisition, purchasing EA would be a departure from their strategy of rounding up major franchises under their belt and establishing new studios to develop those properties. For instance, Microsoft has procured Halo, Minecraft, and Gears of War in recent years, and they have entire studios dedicated to developing those titles through Microsoft Studios. But the notion of acquiring EA means the console manufacturer may be looking into purchasing an entire archive of games - such as Anthem, Battlefront, and all the EA sports titles - to quickly expand their console exclusive slate. It's also possible that Microsoft could employ a similar initiative to the one they have with Minecraft and publish EA's games for multiple platforms, but reap the benefits of doing so. They could, then, maintain their tech-first strategy.
Of course, making a bid for PUBG Corp might be in their best interest, seeing as the Xbox One is the only console at the moment that supports PUBG. By acquiring the company (and the game), they can prevent PUBG from releasing on the PS4, and possibly even speed up production on new maps and features for the PC version. But we'll just have to wait and see what happens.