A court blooper in the ongoing FTC vs. Microsoft and Activision legal battle has revealed that Microsoft considered acquiring Square Enix in 2019, with the view to making its future games exclusive to its own ecosystem. Documents that were supposed to be redacted have now ended up confirming multiple industry rumors that were previously officially denied by game companies.
Microsoft wanted to launch Square Enix games on Xbox Game Pass
In a “highly confidential” presentation in 2019, Microsoft mulled over a strategy for acquiring Square Enix. Its idea was to continue supporting existing Square Enix games and shipping already announced titles on multiple platforms. However, future releases were to be exclusively launched day-and-date on Xbox Game Pass.
Microsoft then goes on to admit that its plan would have a negative impact on game sales and revenue due to Game Pass “cannibalizing” sales.
In 2020, when reports first emerged that Microsoft was considering purchasing a major Japanese publisher, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer went on record to deny this. Thanks to the poorly-redacted court documents — which have now been pulled after someone realized the blooper a little too late — we now know that Square Enix and Sega were both on Microsoft’s radar.