Thanks to a third-party company, Microsoft’s plans to buy more studios in Japan may have hit a pretty significant barrier.
The Xbox One console had two major problems, a lack of exclusive titles and a lack of interest from East Asian consumers.
Now we’re in the era of the Xbox Series X/S, Microsoft is keen to fix these two issues. To do so, the company is aggressively expanding, as demonstrated through their recent acquisition of Bethesda / ZeniMax media.
An acquisition that will supply the Xbox brand with a plethora of new console exclusives. It may even help them get back their status as the home of the Western RPG – a title held by the Xbox 360.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda is to bolster their exclusive game library – something they’ve been pretty open about since it became official.
We previously reported that Microsoft was also adopting this strategy to solve their other problem. The idea being; that by purchasing more studios in Japan and making their games Xbox exclusives, the console will sell more units across Asia.
It could work well for Microsoft, but it depends on which companies they choose to buy. Ideally, their Japanese expansion plans would need to include studios that were popular - not just in the east - but in the west too.
We previously reported that Microsoft was eyeing up companies like Sega and Konami, but someone may have just thrown a pretty large spanner into the works.
South Korean Firm Invests in Microsoft’s Intended Japanese Targets
Nexon, a South Korean gaming company, has just invested in Sega, Konami, Hasbro, and Namco to the tune of $900m. This potentially ends any money trouble those four companies may have.
It also means that they’ll now be highly unlikely to sell to a western corporation like Microsoft. They simply won’t need to. It’s also doubtful that Microsoft will be interested in outbidding Nexon or matching their investment.
To clarify, Nexon hasn’t purchased these companies - as Microsoft would. Instead, the cash injection is to be a “long-term friendly investment” with “no intention of acquisition or activism.”
Speaking to GI.biz, Nexon’s CEO Own Mahoney referred to the four companies as “overlooked and undervalued.”
He went on to say, “We believe companies with strong, well-managed global IP are often overlooked and undervalued in a market that is narrowly focused on introductions of new IP.”
“These investments reflect our respect for management teams that create and grow global properties over a period of years and decades. We believe that each has potential to capitalize on the secular shift from linear formats to interactive entertainment.”
What Does This Mean for Microsoft’s Japanese Expansion?
If the rumors of Microsoft wanting to purchase Sega and Konami are true, this will have frustrated Microsoft’s efforts to expand into the Japanese market.
However, it’s likely that the American gaming giant will simply turn its attention elsewhere. Microsoft’s expansion plans are still likely to continue.
And if their focus is indeed on Japan, then acquisitions in the Land of the Rising Sun are likely to be inevitable.
Every few weeks, a new rumor appears regarding Microsoft’s next potential purchase. So far, none of them have stuck, but it’s only a matter of time until one does.
Remember, these are just rumors at this stage. So far, all other stories of Microsoft acquisitions have either been shot down or simply failed to materialize.
Therefore, until we hear something concrete, take them with a pinch of salt.