Leaked Emails Reveal That Xbox CEO Phil Spencer Wants to Buy Nintendo

Leaked Emails Reveal That Xbox CEO Phil Spencer Wants to Buy Nintendo
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Xbox once again thought about buying the video game giant, Nintendo. In newly leaked FTC documents, gamers are finding out what the company has been up to behind the scenes for the past few years. In August 2020, Phil Spencer emailed back to Takeshi Numoto and Chris Capossela, Executive Vice Presidents and Commercial Chief Marketing Officers at Microsoft. The Xbox CEO opened the email by replying to Numoto and saying:

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“Takeshi, I totally agree that Nintendo is THE prime asset for us in Gaming and today Gaming is our most likely path to consumer relevance.”

Xbox and Nintendo: A Shared History

Xbox was still looking to buy Nintendo in 2020.
Xbox was still looking to buy Nintendo in 2020.

While not on the same scale as Nintendo, Spencer continued by talking about other company acquisitions such as ZeniMax Media (Bethesda) and Warner Bros. Interactive (now known as Warner Bros. Games). Xbox officially purchased Bethesda in March 2021, but has been unsuccessful in acquiring Warner Bros. Games so far. Spencer loved the discussion between his company’s executives and closed the email by writing:

“At some point, getting Nintendo would be a career moment and I honestly believe a good move for both companies. It’s just taking a long time for Nintendo to see that their future exists off of their own hardware. A long time…. :-)”

Related: Seven Games Are Confirmed For Xbox Game Pass In October So Far

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Xbox’s history with Nintendo goes back decades. A 2021 Bloomberg article titled “Xbox: The Oral History of an American Video Game Empire” talks about how the console came to be. Sony’s PlayStation 2 became its main focus for console competition due to Xbox’s desire to acquire certain game companies. The studios included EA, Square Enix, and, of course, Nintendo. The meeting with Xbox’s Kevin Bachus, director of third-party relations at the time, did not go well. Bachus said:

“[Nintendo] just laughed their asses off. Like, imagine an hour of somebody just laughing at you. That was kind of how that meeting went.”

Bob McBreen, former head of business development, went on to explain how they pitched the idea to Nintendo and how their relationship together could benefit both parties. McBreen said Nintendo’s hardware “stunk” as it wasn’t at the same power as Sony’s PlayStation. They would help by providing competitive hardware while Nintendo continues to focus on making great games like Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda. Nintendo did not accept Xbox’s deal.

Could Mario games ever make their way to Xbox consoles?
Could Mario games ever make their way to Xbox consoles?

Xbox CEO’s Endgame: Buy Nintendo?

Phil Spencer's leaked email about Xbox's potential acquisition of Nintendo.
Phil Spencer’s leaked email about Xbox’s potential acquisition of Nintendo.

Fast forward to today, and we now know Phil Spencer thought about acquiring Nintendo once again for his company. The leaked email is from August 6, 2020, and was sent in response to the subject line “random thought.”

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Calling it a career moment, Spencer is still trying to bring Nintendo to the Microsoft family. While he believes it’s a good move for both companies, Nintendo is still doing its own thing. Even though the Nintendo Switch is nowhere near the same power as the Xbox Series X|S or the PlayStation 5, Nintendo is still succeeding in its own corner.

The recent Nintendo Direct was met with fan praise all around, with announcements such as Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (remake) and Princess Peach: Showtime! being highlights.

Related: Nintendo Direct Recap – The Biggest and Best Announcements

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The CEO will be waiting a long time for Nintendo to budge on an acquisition by Microsoft, if ever. Nintendo laughed at the idea back in the early 2000’s; what makes today, in 2023, any different? The emails from Spencer and other executives do have the subject line “random thought,” so maybe the email conversations are just random thoughts. 

What do you think of Xbox buying Nintendo? Does this acquisition seem possible under Phil Spencer’s leadership? Let us know in the comments!

Source: ResetEra

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Written by Travis Vuong

Articles Published: 96

Travis Vuong is a games journalist and content creator. He's been a YouTuber since 2008 and continues to create videos under the "tvsonicgaming" banner. All social media accounts and his podcast: allmylinks.com/tvsonic