Xbox’s Comments About Nintendo’s Consoles Miss the Mark

Xbox’s Comments About Nintendo’s Consoles Miss the Mark

Leaked comments from Xbox about Nintendo’s future being on competitors’ hardware don’t hold up to scrutiny.

Microsoft’s court battle with the FTC, where the tech giant fought for the right to acquire Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard, has resulted in a ton of internal Xbox communications and emails leaking online. These include some emails from Head of Xbox Phil Spencer, who made a comment about Nintendo that completely misses the mark.

It’s no secret that a key part of Microsoft’s gaming growth strategy has been acquiring existing developers and publishers, with its acquisitions of ZeniMax Media and Activision Blizzard being the highest-profile to date. Microsoft may slow down its gaming acquisitions after the Activision Blizzard deal closes, but that doesn’t mean Microsoft won’t acquire other companies down the line. In fact, the leaked FTC emails have revealed that Microsoft has, at various points, considered trying to acquire Warner Bros. Games and Square Enix, and has discussed the possibility of acquiring Nintendo, one of its chief competitors in the console market.

A leaked email from Head of Xbox Phil Spencer, which was written in 2020, sees him stating that Microsoft acquiring Nintendo “would be a career moment” for him and that he believes it would be a “good move” for both companies. Spencer then added, “It’s just taking a long time for Nintendo to see that their future exists off of their own hardware.” While acquisition talks like this are par for the course, the idea that Nintendo’s games should exist off its own hardware is a statement that’s been turning heads, and for good reason.

Nintendo Has Some of the Best-Selling Video Game Consoles of All Time

nintendo switch console dock and controller

First and foremost, the idea that Nintendo needs to release its games on non-Nintendo consoles is tarnished quickly when one looks at the list of best-selling video game consoles of all time. Out of the 10 best-selling video game consoles, five of the spots belong to Nintendo. In fact, the Nintendo Switch is the third highest-selling video game console. For comparison, Xbox has one console that has managed to crack the top 10, the Xbox 360.

The argument could be made that Nintendo software would stand to sell a lot more if it were available on other platforms. And that may be true, but that could in turn mean less people are buying Nintendo consoles. Whereas most video game consoles are sold at a loss, Nintendo consoles are generally sold at a profit, and so Nintendo has some serious motivation to make sure that people have a reason to buy their latest hardware.

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has talked about acquiring Nintendo, and it’s likely going to be something that the company keeps considering as the years go on. But the prediction that Nintendo’s future doesn’t involve Nintendo consoles is debunked by looking at the company’s wildly successful hardware. There have been some bumps in the road, particularly with the Wii U, but Nintendo has always bounced back, and is currently riding a high that seems virtually unstoppable.

A recent Nintendo Direct revealed an extremely impressive lineup of first-party Switch games on the way for the next year or so, with rumors indicating that Nintendo plans on releasing the Switch successor console in 2024. Maybe a Microsoft acquisition of Nintendo would make more sense if the Switch successor flops, but as it stands, Nintendo is having no trouble selling its consoles or its games.

Right now, the Nintendo brand is as strong as it’s ever been. Beyond the explosive popularity of the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo’s games, The Super Mario Bros. Movie grossed over $1 billion at the box office earlier this year, and Super Nintendo World has been a big hit at Universal Studios parks around the world, with plans to expand in the future. While it’s easy to see how a Microsoft acquisition of Nintendo would benefit Xbox, it’s difficult to see how it would benefit Nintendo.

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