Microsoft & Its “Exclusive Games” Problem Quick Fix – Buy EA?

MICROSOFT GAMES STUDIO

In an interesting new article at Polygon, the author has spoken to a number of industry investment professionals about the possibility that Microsoft may be eying EA.

Why you ask?

Why Microsoft Needs EA

For one, the software mega-corporation has a mega-sized problem with exclusivity. By this we mean that the company simply doesn’t have enough games in its library, either past or future, that are or will only be published by MS. As a result, analysts believe that XBox One sales are lagging far behind Sony’s PlayStation 4. In fact, though MS doesn’t release sales figures, estimates place XB1 sales for 2017 at about 35 million compared to PlayStation 4’s 73 million. 2018 isn’t going to get much better either with Nintendo’s Switch making headway in the console market and further splitting the customer base. Nintendo also has a vibrant library of exclusive titles and seems to be bringing more on board just about every day.

As an example, PS4 has several well-known and highly-regarded IPs coming to it exclusively: The Last of Us Part 2, Spider-Man, God of War, Dream and Detroit: Become Human. They’ve also managed to obtain exclusive deals with third-party developers for big name titles like Star Wars Battlefront 2, Call of Duty WWII and Destiny 2 from Bungie, once a part of Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has State of Decay 2, Sea of Thieves and Crackdown 3 coming in 2018. While all are excellent titles, that tiny number of “exclusive” titles is dwarfed by Sony’s list.

XBox lead Phil Spencer, speaking to Bloomberg, has admitted that this is an issue that MS has to own and figure out. “Our ability to go create content has to be one of our strengths. We haven’t always invested at the same level. We’ve gone through ups and downs in the investment.”

So how to solve the problem? Analysts believe that Electronic Arts is ripe for the picking. MS has a cash pool of about $130 billion that could easily buy out EA for about $35 billion. With that single takeover, MS would gain some fantastic IPs including FIFA, Mass Effect, Anthem and a host of other stellar titles.

Analysts have also heard whispered rumors of MS eyeballing other huge companies including PUBG Corp and Valve, but those fall into the highly improbable category, while EA seems a much better fit.

It’s definitely an intriguing thought and will be one worth watching over the course of 2018. Would purchasing EA 1) be worth the outlay; and 2) be enough to save MS’s exclusivity problem? Time will tell. We know we’ll be keeping an eye on things.

Written by
Suzie is an avid gamer and has been since 1995. She lives in the desert with her own personal minion while dreaming of pixel worlds beyond Earth.

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