Microsoft’s board of directors was “fully supportive” of a potential purchase of Nintendo if the opportunity arose, according to a newly leaked email from the company’s head of gaming.
Why it matters: The merger would be the largest in gaming history, but Nintendo would have to be a willing participant.
As of summer 2020, it was not, according to the email from Microsoft executive, Phil Spencer.
The company did not respond on Tuesday morning to Axios’ request for comment on the leaks.
Details: In an August 2020 email to Takeshi Numoto, Microsoft’s commercial chief marketing officer, Spencer pondered the possibility of Microsoft buying Nintendo.
Spencer noted that Nintendo was sitting on enough cash that it didn’t have to make many deals. He said a large stockholder might push Nintendo toward dramatic business deals.
“Without that catalyst, I don’t see an angle to a near term mutually agreeable merger of Nintendo and MS and I don’t think a hostile action would be a good move, so we are playing the long game.”
Spencer wrote that Microsoft’s board is “fully supportive” of a bid for Nintendo or PC powerhouse Valve.
Zoom in: The Spencer email was included, possibly by accident, as part of a trove of exhibits uploaded to the website of the U.S. District Court of Northern California as part of the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit to block Microsoft’s $69 billion bid for Activision Blizzard.
It wasn’t listed as an exhibit on the court’s site. Instead it was discovered after a user at gaming forum Resetera noticed that a seemingly innocuous deposition shared by the court contained attachments loaded with Microsoft’s plans.
The bottom line: As of 2020, Spencer still held out hope that the merger could happen someday.
“At some point, getting Nintendo would be a career moment, and I honestly believe a good move for both companies,” Spencer said. “It’s just taking a long time for Nintendo to see that their future exists off their own hardware.”