In hopes of solving their lack of exclusive games, Microsoft may be looking at acquiring other companies in the gaming business, Electronic Arts among them. This rumor comes from a report from Polygon. The information comes nestled within a broader discussion on Microsoft's software portfolio, but Polygon claims that the mega-publisher is one target among several for Microsoft to acquire. You might know Electronic Arts best as EA, the publisher behind Battlefield 1, Star Wars: Battlefront II, and even Mass Effect: Andromeda.
"Some of the names being thrown around as possible acquisitions by Microsoft are, frankly, astounding, even unthinkable," the article's author Colin Campbell writes. "But the fact that they are doing the rounds is instructive. The most recent one we heard (from a reliable source close to Microsoft) was, in fact, Electronic Arts. We also heard a whisper about Valve and about Korean outfit PUBG Corp., which Microsoft last year signed to a timed exclusive for its hit survival shooter, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds."
The possible options here are kind of impressive. Picking up Electronic Arts would be one of the biggest acquisitions in the gaming industry's history and would shake up the market so much it is hard to even conceive of what the industry would look like afterward. Because with Microsoft in control of EA, we likely wouldn't see any EA games on a platform other than Xbox and Windows PC. And that would be a major change from what we've got right now.
Valve is a privately owned company, which would make any acquisition difficult enough on its own, and founder Gabe Newell is well known not to be a fan of his former employer Microsoft and their Windows 10 strategy for gaming. But if Microsoft did manage to broker a deal there, it would put them in control of the largest PC gaming platform.
Of all the mentioned acquisitions, PUBG Corp. seems the most reasonable, though it would only solve the problem of how to secure Battlegrounds forever, not how to right the internal software ship.
Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation and so has offered no comment on Polygon's report.
While EA has had a rough year of it between ME: Andromeda and Star Wars: Battlefront II's controversies, it seems like a corporate buyout by Microsoft is a bit of a stretch. Then again, in recent months we have seen some major changes with Disney purchasing 20th Century Fox back in December. So, this one could actually happen. But for right now, it's just a rumor.