Microsoft’s ambitions regarding acquisitions to help bolster the Xbox brand once included Pokemon Go creator Niantic as part of a push that would have aided its mobile endeavors. If this acquisition had gone through, it would have created an awkward situation involving Pokemon Go, with the developer of one of The Pokemon Company’s biggest games suddenly falling under the Xbox Game Studios banner.
Microsoft has spent the past few years acquiring studios to produce games for its Xbox brand. The biggest of these deals to go through involved Microsoft acquiring ZeniMax Media, but that will be dwarfed by the company’s ongoing attempt to purchase Activision Blizzard, assuming the deal is ever completed.
Microsoft Considered Buying Lots Of Companies, Including Niantic
In a new internal email verified by The Verge that was part of the FTC vs. Microsoft hearing, it was revealed that Microsoft was considering acquiring numerous different companies, most notably Sega Sammy. The list included Bungie (which Sony beat them to), Zynga, Thunderful, IO Interactive, Supergiant Games, and Niantic.
Niantic is the developer and publisher of Pokemon Go, as part of a collaboration with Nintendo and The Pokemon Company. Pokemon Go is a massively successful game, bringing in billions of dollars in revenue, so it wouldn’t have been cheap for Microsoft to acquire the company. This may have been the reason why the deal never went anywhere, assuming Niantic was even approached in an official capacity. It also doesn’t help that Niantic’s non-Pokemon Go titles haven’t been anywhere near as successful, even the ones that were just copies of Pokemon Go.
If Microsoft had acquired Niantic, then things would have become complicated. Likely, Pokemon Go would still exist and be doing business as usual, as it’s too popular for all parties involved to walk away from. Microsoft and Nintendo have done business in the past, as neither treats the other as a rival like they treat Sony, so a deal could have been struck between all parties.
It seems that most of these potential acquisitions didn’t go anywhere, save for the Sega Sammy one, and it’s surprising that one didn’t go through, considering all of the Sega franchises that could have been added to the Xbox brand. It’s amazing to think what would have happened if Niantic had fallen under Microsoft’s control, as it would have been an even bigger announcement than the Activision Blizzard acquisition, with fans worldwide left wondering about the future of their favorite Pokemon-catching simulator.