Rumour: Microsoft Considering EA, Valve and Bluehole Buyouts

Written by Jon Sutton on Tue, Jan 30, 2018 10:05 AM

Late last year Microsoft’s Xbox chief Phil Spencer said it was actively looking at investing in studios in order to boost its first-party Xbox output. At the time we wondered just what studios these could be. Well, Polygon has gone one step further, citing a “reliable source” close to Microsoft that it’s very seriously considering a buyout of Electronic Arts. As well as this, Microsoft is also looking at potential purchases of PUBG publisher Bluehole, and none other than Valve.

“The most recent one we heard (from a reliable source close to Microsoft) was, in fact, Electronic Arts,” writes Polygon, fairly confidently.

There probably isn’t a salt shaker big enough for you to take the sizeable pinch necessary to swallow this, so we’re just going to have to assume Polygon’s sources have at least some shred of truth to them.

Of course, Microsoft would probably like to own Valve, but wanting something doesn’t just make it happen. Valve is a private company majority owned by Gabe Newell. I think the idea of Microsoft buying Valve is ludicrously optimistic on Polygon’s behalf, and certainly the least likely of the three. Newell owns more than 50% of the biggest PC gaming distributor in the world. He personally is worth more than $5.5 billion; he’s hardly reaching down the back of the sofa for some change. If he doesn’t want to sell, nothing happens

As for Bluehole, that seems like a more realistic prospect. Microsoft has demonstrated with Mojang and Minecraft that it’s willing to bet big on a single property, although I suspect not even PUBG has the legs of Minecraft. A buyout is feasible, although a bidding war with Chinese conglomerate Tencent would almost certainly commence should Microsoft show their hand.

Which finally brings us to EA, and Polygon’s strongest rumour. While improbable, it’s not impossible to see happen. EA is one of the largest games publishers in the world, yet Microsoft is obviously worth considerably more. In terms of bolstering first-party games, EA would certainly do the job. It seems almost inconceivable that EA would abandon multiplatform support though. Imagine Madden, FIFA, and Battlefield being exclusive to Xbox. The ramifications would be huge. If Microsoft bought EA and forced them to drop PlayStation support, their addressable market has just pretty much halved.

Ultimately, Microsoft can afford to buy any of these three companies and probably would like to as well. Whether it’s even possible is another matter entirely though, despite the $130 billion it's got sat in the bank. The rumours do at least indicate the scale Microsoft is thinking of when it comes to studio purchases though, and now nothing is off-limits, but I don’t think any of these three are genuinely going to happen. It’s difficult to envisage the benefits of a buyout for anyone aside from Microsoft’s shareholders; it would just be more industry consolidation and less choice.

Source: Polygon

Can you see Microsoft buying any of these three publishers? Which would have the biggest impact on the gaming industry?

Our favourite comments:

What if after the purchase, EA's malpractices and Microsoft's malpractices in the gaming sphere cancel each other out and what we get is a superb mega company?

ahnaf22

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23:37 Jan-30-2018

I understand why Microsoft trying to buy Valve for the game marketplace platform (Steam), but I'd like to see them try

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18:51 Jan-30-2018

Well, EA can't do any worse at the moment.

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10:39 Jan-31-2018

Perfect time to buy, then they'll make all EA games exclusives -> BF, CancerFront, ALL SPORTs games, which is big.

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18:36 Jan-30-2018

I cannot imagine how MS taking over Valve would be a good thing for PC Gaming.

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18:41 Jan-30-2018

Not saying I agree with this but Jon suggested that if they did, Microsoft could just abandon UWP and opt for Steam instead. I see no reason for them to sell since they are doing good on their own but Jon thinks that is precisely the reason to sell, like Mojang because of the overwhelming success that is minecraft. So the purchase makes sense.


Do I agree with it? NO. But I can see the logic.

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19:48 Jan-30-2018

IF, they didn't try to change anything, I could see it having a smaller impact. But I don't think THEY think there's anything wrong with UWP/Windows Store. I'm not a MS hater. I just think they do better in some areas and not so good in others. They also have a knack for replacing well-liked features/applications with wonky crappier ones.

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11:23 Jan-31-2018

I just think UWP was driven by MS trying to compete with Steam, yet if they just bought Steam, there'd be no point to UWP from a gaming perspective, aside from if it's integral to Xbox Play Anywhere.

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19:41 Jan-31-2018

I definitely see your point....I'm just a bit skeptical of MS methods sometimes.

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14:47 Jan-30-2018

The only way this is good news is if they Buy EA then dissolve the company, making the gaming studios it owns self sufficient again. But Microsoft owns those IPs it would be better than EA but still pretty bad. As then it will only be on Xbone or be forced to included a new ****ty peripheral like Kinect.

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14:38 Jan-30-2018

Microsoft should add Activision also, happy for EA.

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21:01 Jan-30-2018

wow Activision-Blizzard are way too expensive for microsoft.

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13:59 Jan-30-2018

It would be sweet justice if MS bought EA only to dissolve EA and take all of their IPs.

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14:02 Jan-30-2018

Dead Space and Mass Effect would be in better hands than they are in the soulless, iron fisted, life stealing, neck choking grip that is known as EA.

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15:39 Jan-30-2018

Good Mass Effect, Dragon Age , Dead Space and Mirror's Edge games ? Hell yeah. Would buy an Xbox just for them.

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13:39 Jan-30-2018

So, people hate EA for Battlefront 2 and currently MS has fuc— up with AOE Definitive Edition. What a time for them to team up!

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13:00 Jan-30-2018
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12:49 Jan-30-2018

This would make worst monopoly for pc gaming ever, fk off microsoft...

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12:43 Jan-30-2018

So the xbox won't die, will it... I hope Lord GabeN won't sell, even if approached, and that PC will get good treatment. Everyone is so fixated on consoles it's absurd.

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12:25 Jan-30-2018

I'd say EA and Bluehole are very likely to happen, just a matter of time,
Valve on the other hand is a very different situation, on one hand it's probably the biggest online game distribution platform, supporting various operating systems, but on the other hand their primary income comes from (Microsoft) Windows users and so Valve definitely isn't in a situation they could ignore customer cutoff once Microsoft UWP Store kicks in fully

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12:24 Jan-30-2018

Well Microsoft has more money combined than these 3 companies. So I don't see any problem of Microsoft if they want to buy these companies. Also for dota 2 TI valve is giving a large prize pool to the winners. So if MS provide a solid prize for him then I don't see any problem MS buying Valve.

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11:49 Jan-30-2018

Well, if Fox can be bought by Disney, I don't see anything acquisition off the market when financial giants come to the card table. Remember that Vivendi has investments in Ubisoft. If Microsoft wants to remain relevant, they SHOULD be thinking big. If Dinsey does not buy any promising content, they would become shadows of living memory. I WAS an Xbox user. Nothing promising has come its way and stuck since Halo 4 for me.

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11:36 Jan-30-2018

What if after the purchase, EA's malpractices and Microsoft's malpractices in the gaming sphere cancel each other out and what we get is a superb mega company?

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14:35 Jan-30-2018

Hmm, what if they combine?

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11:06 Jan-30-2018

Well, you can't go more consumer un-friendlier than combining EA AND Microsoft - I approve this! Now, when things go bad, there is a chance for both companies to wipe out their success with the gaming market at the same time! Oh, what a dream...

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10:19 Jan-30-2018

Microsoft May buy that ****hole, but M$ buying EA and valve is a joke.

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10:22 Jan-30-2018

I see them buying Valve as well, but I doubt Gabe will sell Valve.

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10:58 Jan-30-2018

never underestimate the power of $$$$

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11:26 Jan-30-2018

well EA offered I think 1 billon a few years ago and he said no, maybe if microsoft tries for 5 billion it might work XD

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19:39 Jan-30-2018

I could personally refuse that much money even as much as I want it. It would mostly depend on what it is they are trying to buy for me but I could personally refuse despite how tempting it would be.

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21:03 Jan-30-2018

I have no problem refusing money either, the only time I would bend and accept money is if the world gives me literally all the money and gold, so that the focking money economy finally dies... -_-

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21:16 Jan-30-2018

not gonna lie. i would sell my left nut for that sort of money

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10:47 Jan-31-2018

@Abbasiibrahim
and what will you do with so much money?

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11:18 Jan-31-2018

buy a left nut?

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11:31 Jan-30-2018

Welcome to professional journalism in 2018!
Btw buying EA and not let them publish on PS would in longterm shift sales significant from PS -> XBOX

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21:04 Jan-30-2018

yeah true, Battlefield, CancerFront, Fifa, F1, NBA, sports in general, it would be a really good investment.

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