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Microsoft’s Nintendo Acquisition Consideration and Bethesda Games Leak Revealed in Court Docs. Technostation

In a leaked email from 2020, Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming, contemplated the possibility of acquiring Nintendo. In one of the documents from Microsoft’s lawsuit with the US FTC that were disclosed on Tuesday, Spencer refers to the potential acquisition of the Mario maker as a “career moment” and suggests that working together would be a “good move” for both companies. It’s important to note that this discussion took place in August 2020, prior to Microsoft’s purchase of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, for $7.5 billion (about Rs. 62,431 crore). The leaks also included information about Microsoft’s upcoming mid-generation system update as well as the release timetable for Bethesda games.

Spencer said in an email to Microsoft executives Chris Capossela and Takeshi Numoto, “I’ve had numerous conversations with the LT of Nintendo about closer collaboration and feel like if any US company would have a chance with Nintendo, we are probably in the best position.” (via The Verge). He continued by outlining some obstacles to the acquisition, starting with Nintendo’s contented possession of a “big pile of cash,” which renders any aggressive takeover attempts useless. He asserted that Nintendo is still coming to the realisation that their games would sell better if they weren’t only available on their own platform. The president of Valve Corporation, Gabe Newell, previously worked for Microsoft. In the same email, Spencer discussed purchasing Valve Corporation, stating that the board of directors of Microsoft would be fully supportive of any favourable developments.

Along with ZeniMax, it appears that Microsoft was in active buyout talks with Warner Bros. Interactive, the company that released Hogwarts Legacy earlier this year. The fact that Microsoft would not control the rights to DC Comics characters and other properties prompted questions about IP ownership, which damaged Microsoft’s “long-term flexibility.” With ZeniMax, however, the problem was more monetary in nature, namely in terms of what the company’s founders anticipated from the acquisition.

The list of unannounced Bethesda projects included in the stolen documents also included remasters for Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, an open-world role-playing game set in Cyrodiil. The launch schedules have changed significantly since the chart of planned titles was created in July 2020. The Oblivion remaster was initially planned to arrive in 2022, but the only news we’ve heard about it thus far came from a rumour that Virtuous Games was engaged in development. Together with Konami, that studio is now working on the Metal Gear Solid 3 remake. The list definitely includes a Starfield DLC for 2022, and the Fallout 3 remaster was scheduled for release the following year. Naturally, the game was delayed, and as a result, the timeframes now significantly diverge.

The chart shows that the long-awaited Elder Scrolls VI was originally planned to release in 2024. However, it has only recently started the early production stage, and a PC and Xbox release isn’t anticipated until 2026. Other significant releases coming soon include MachineGames’ Indiana Jones title, a Ghostwire: Tokyo follow-up, and Dishonoured 3, Arkane’s return to the stealth genre following Deathloop and the underwhelming Redfall.


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