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Microsoft Will Impress at E3 – Just Ignore the Acquisition Hype

There’s a lot of problems with the way Microsoft are seen in by parts of the gaming community – and the acquisition hype is becoming part of that. See how gleefully “Craig” was shared after the Halo reveal as proof of that. I’ve never seen a quarter second image shared so widely, even though it would be easy to do for just about any game you care to name.


There’s another issue forming though. It’s become increasingly apparent the closer we get to Microsoft’s Sunday E3 conference.

If you go into the show expecting Halo, Starfield, maybe Forza Horizon 5, you’ll probably come out quite happy. But, fueled by insiders and unverified leakers, the conversation has instead turned to major acquisitions. And that means eyes are turning to another Bethesda.

Is it possible Microsoft have bought parts of Sega or Ubisoft and will announce it this week? Yes.

Should you expect it? Absolutely not.

Acquisition Hype

Microsoft have said, many times, that the spending spree is not over. That makes perfect sense.


Game Pass needs content. It needs major games every couple of months, and third party stuff will continue to add up. By major, I mean things to get excited about. It doesn’t need to be Halo, but it needs to be something.

The best way to do this is to take chances when you can, which is why every rumour about studios or publishers being up for grabs inevitably leads to a chorus of “Microsoft is looking into it”. They might decide not to buy, say, the Warner Bros. gaming division when the opportunity presents itself. But they’d be mad not to look.

To that purpose, the spending spree is never truly going to be over. They’ll continue to buy for as long as they are able and for as long as it is manageable and makes sense.

But when the expectations are sky-high, a bog standard acquisition starts to look almost mundane.

Buying up E3

When Microsoft bought Bethesda, they set a standard. They said “Hey, look what we’re willing to do,” and fans ran with the possibilities.


This last week has included a few big suggestions – mostly brought on by the ever-excitable 4chan. Ubisoft has been the biggest I’ve seen, although the leaker hedged his bets by saying it was “very expensive”.

On the other end of the spectrum, Crytek has been bandied about. Microsoft would get the Ryse IP, plus Crysis, plus the CryEngine. Not a bad purchase, but certainly not on the scale of an Ubisoft. The reaction has been a resounding “meh” on message boards, although had it been announced 12 months ago I’m sure more people would have seen the potential.

Bethesda has ruined it for us. It has set the standard.

That’s presuming there’ll be acquisition news at E3 anyway.  More likely there won’t be. What sort of bizarro world are we living in that people might be angry about a lack of buying up publishers or studios?

I guess time will tell.


I’ve got no doubt that Sunday’s show will be great. Halo will deliver, Starfield will give us something new to look out for, and there’ll be a few surprises too.

But then, I try to go into any gaming show with suitable expectations. We’re never going to have Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Shenmue 3 and The Last Guardian all announced at the same time ever again.

The key is to not set standards based on your own hopes and dreams, then be annoyed the company in question didn’t live up to them. It’s unfortunately something that needs to be said, and, yes, buying Ubisoft counts in that.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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