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Microsoft considered buying Sega in 2020, and had other developers in mind as well to buy

Sega and Microsoft at the top and bottom with Sonic The Hedgehog in between

While the current court case between Microsoft and the US Federal Trade Commission took a day off today before starting again on Tuesday, newly revealed internal emails and documents from Microsoft showed that the company had a number of game developers and publishers on its shortlist to acquire before it settled on its plan to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion.

The Verge has posted the contents of an internal email from Microsoft's Xbox head Phil Spencer, addressed to company CEO Satya Nadella and CFO Amy Hood. He requested his bosses to get "Strategy Approval" to approach Saga Sammy to see if it was interested in being acquired by Microsoft.

The email from Spencer stated, in part:

We believe that Sega has built a well-balanced portfolio of games across segments with global geographic appeal, and will help us accelerate Xbox Game Pass both on and off-console.

There's no word on if talks between Sega and Microsoft actually occurred. However, yet another internal document that The Verge posted from April 2021 listed a number of other developers and publishers that Microsoft at least thought about buying.

This is a shot of a revolver from Destiny 2.

One of the most interesting developers on Microsoft's list was Bungie. Microsoft actually acquired that developer in 2000 so it could secure the first Halo game as an exclusive launch title for the first Xbox console in 2001.

In 2007, Bungie became an independent game developer once again but continued to develop new Halo games for Microsoft until the release of Halo: Reach. While Microsoft retained the rights to the Halo IP, Bungie moved on and developed the Destiny game series. In 2022, Sony ended up buying Bungie.

Other game developers and publishers on the list included Hitman creator IO Interactive, Hades developer Supergiant Games, Pokemon Go creator Niantic, and smaller publishers like Thunderful, Playrix, and Scopley.

The list also included Zynga, which Spencer confirmed in trial testimony last week was under serious consideration for an acquisition deal a few years ago. It was eventually bought by Take-Two Interactive.

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