In their quest for continuous expansion, Microsoft had a gem on their radar—Square Enix. The renowned publisher, celebrated for its role in bringing the Final Fantasy series to life, became a key interest for Microsoft as the tech titan considered integrating Square Enix into its flourishing Xbox portfolio.
This strategic interest was revealed through internal documents, which saw the light of day during the FTC v. Microsoft hearings. These documents also uncovered Microsoft’s intriguing interest in other gaming bigwigs, such as Sega and Bungie, painting a picture of Microsoft’s aggressive growth plans in the gaming industry.
A Triad of Motivations: Market Reach, Content Enhancement, and Mobile Ascent
Delving into the documents further, we find three compelling reasons behind Microsoft’s interest in Square Enix. First off, it was a strategic move to strengthen Xbox’s presence in Asia, a market where it had historically struggled to gain a foothold. Microsoft saw an opportunity to leverage Square Enix’s popularity in the region to build a stronger connection with Asian gamers.
Secondly, Microsoft aimed to enrich the Xbox Game Pass with more content. The addition of Square Enix’s blockbuster releases, as well as its extensive library of games, would not only broaden the variety but also significantly drive the growth of the Game Pass, enticing more users to join the gaming platform.
However, the most intriguing reason was Microsoft’s ambition to elevate its mobile gaming strategy. The tech giant viewed the acquisition of Square Enix as a potential springboard to bolster its “mobile-exclusive Game Pass offerings”. Despite the Game Pass’s current support for Xbox and PC, Microsoft hinted at wider plans for the future, suggesting a more significant focus on mobile gaming.
“Uniting Square Enix’s substantial mobile-native portfolio with our own could potentially aid in crafting a mobile-focused Xbox Game Pass SKU,” the documents outlined. This strategy would not only leverage the publisher’s games, including premium versions of classic games, but also bring immense value to a subscription service, creating a new avenue of growth for Microsoft’s gaming division.