Microsoft Reportedly Looking To Acquire Japanese Game Studios

Microsoft wants to be a true rival to Sony on its home ground territory, with its Xbox consoles and services.

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The launch of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles this week will be a global release of Microsoft's next-gen hardware. From the United States to New Zealand, many major markets will be covered, but one country where Microsoft is aiming to make significant gains is Japan. The home ground of Sony's PlayStation, the Xbox One has sold literal tens of units some weeks during its lifetime there and as of June 2019, only 140,700 of these consoles had been sold in Japan. [Update: In an interview with GameSpot, Xbox head Phil Spencer said that he, at least, has not been part of any conversations to acquire studios in Japan.]

For this generation of gaming, Microsoft has a new strategy. Microsoft's also looking to add more Japanese studios to its collection of first-party game developers according to a Bloomberg report. After spending $7.5 billion to acquire Bethesda parent company ZeniMax, Microsoft's roster is stacked with western developers.

It has approached several Japan-based game developers about the possibility of purchasing their businesses, and Koei Tecmo Games Co. president Hisashi Koinuma revealed that Microsoft had approached the publisher to form a partnership--something that the company would be open to if Microsoft continued to show interest in Japan.

According to Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo, the smaller Xbox Series S console could also be a more popular choice in Japanese homes where living space is at a premium. With Xbox Game Pass and the xCloud game-streaming service offering value for money in a country where mobile gaming is big business, Microsoft's gaming ecosystem could also be capable of drawing in a new audience.

Jeremy Hinton, head of Xbox operations in Asia, explained to Bloomberg that Microsoft is always open to discussions with creators provided that they are a good fit for the company, but that there are no announcements to share currently.

For more on Microsoft's new console, check out GameSpot's Xbox Series X review.

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