Phil Spencer Wanted to Acquire Nintendo in 2020; Said Nintendo’s Future “Exists Off of Their Own Hardware”


A freshly leaked document as part of the FTC/Microsoft case has revealed that Xbox boss Phil Spencer wanted to acquire Nintendo as well as Warner Bros. and Zenimax in 2020.

Numerous FTC documents leaked yesterday, and while most of these contain information that already became public some months ago, a new internal email from Spencer has revealed some interesting information about Microsoft’s initial acquisition plans. Apparently, back in 2020, Spencer emailed Microsoft’s chief marketing officer of the worldwide commercial business, Takeshi Numoto, and Chief Marketing Officer en Executive Vice President of Consumer Business, Chris Capossela, about purchasing Nintendo. According to Spencer, however, a major problem would be that Nintendo was “sitting on a big pile of cash”. As such, getting Nintendo would be more difficult than getting Warner Bros. and Zenimax.

As most of you will recall, there have been numerous rumors over the past few years about Warner Bros. getting purchased (and going by these documents, Xbox was in advanced talks to acquire them), and we all know that Microsoft ended up purchasing Zenimax/Bethesda in September 2020/2021. Of course, acquiring Nintendo would be a major move for Microsoft, and in the email, Spencer actually called an acquisition a “career moment”. In the same email, Microsoft’s head of Xbox also said that an acquisition would be good for Microsoft and Nintendo since Nintendo’s future “exists off of their own hardware”. Quite interesting considering that Spencer said this several months after the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and a major increase in Switch sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve had numerous conversations with the LT of Nintendo about tighter collaboration and feel like if any US company would have a change with Nintendo we are probably in the best position. The unfortunate (or fortune for Nintendo) situation is that Nintendo is sitting on a big pile of cash”.

Spencer ended his email with the following lines: “At some point, getting Nintendo would be a career moment and I honestly believe a good move for both companies. It’s just taking a long time for Nintendo to see that their future exists off of their own hardware. A long time….”

We’ve included the internal email from Spencer below as this isn’t directly visible in the above-mentioned leaked FTC document:

email phil spencer microsoft xbox
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