An internal email revealed as part of the FTC v. Microsoft court case has confirmed that as of 2020, Xbox boss Phil Spencer was interested in acquiring Nintendo. At that point, in fact, he considered the company to be “THE prime asset for us in gaming”.
As The Verge reports, in an email sent to Microsoft’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Chris Capossela, and executive vice president and commercial chief marketing officer, Takeshi Numoto, Spencer wrote: “I totally agree that Nintendo is THE prime asset for us in gaming and today gaming is our most likely path to consumer relevance.”
“I’ve had numerous conversations with the LT of Nintendo about tighter collaboration and feel like if any US company would have a chance with Nintendo we are probably in the best position,” he continued. “The unfortunate (or fortunate for Nintendo) situation is that Nintendo is sitting on a big pile of cash, they have a [Board of Directors] that until recently has not pushed for further increases in market growth or stock appreciation.”
Continuing, Spencer’s email revealed that, at that time, former Microsoft Board of Directors member and co-CEO of ValueAct Capital, Mason Morfit, had been “heavily acquiring” Nintendo shares. As a result, Spencer was keeping in touch with him as it was “likely he will be pushing for more from Nintendo stock which could create opportunities for us”. However, without that, Spencer didn’t see “an angle to a near-term mutually agreeable merger”.
Despite this, Spencer wasn’t deterred from the idea in the long term – he even made it clear that “we are playing the long game”. He wrote: “Our [Board of Directors] has seen the full writeup on Nintendo (and Valve) and they are fully supportive on either if the opportunity arises, as am I.”