Xbox remains open to further acquisitions as it ‘strives to be a major player’

Microsoft’s head of gaming has said the company is open to making further acquisitions as it looks to turn Xbox into “a major player” in the industry.

In a CNBC interview, Xbox boss Phil Spencer was asked whether Microsoft intends to press pause on acquisitive work while it awaits regulatory approval to complete its planned $68.7 billion merger with Activision Blizzard.

“This is such a competitive market, I don’t think we get to press pause on anything,” Spencer responded. “Tencent is the largest gaming company on the planet today and they continue to heavily invest in gaming content and game creators. Sony is a larger business than we are in gaming today and they continue to invest.

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“When you look at the investments that we’ve made, it’s a highly, highly competitive market,” he continued. “We strive to be a major player here. We want to deliver great content for our players and we’re going to remain active, whether that’s investing in our internal teams that are already building great games that people know and love, whether it’s building new partnerships.”

Spencer was speaking from Japan, where’s he currently attending Tokyo Game Show.

“One of the things I love about coming here to Tokyo is the developers I get to meet with, the new partnerships we have with people like Kojima Productions, and going to talk with some of our existing publishing partners and independent creators about games that we want to build,” he said.

“And if it turns into acquisitive M&A work, we’re active there too. So, the work for us never ends. It’s a competitive market and I want to make sure Xbox is at the forefront of innovation and competition.”

Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard is currently being scrutinised by regulators around the world amid concerns about antitrust issues during a time of increasing consolidation in the gaming industry.

UK watchdog the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Thursday that its investigation into the deal has officially been expanded to a more in-depth second phase due to several concerns it has.

Notably, it is worried about the impact the merger could have on PlayStation’s ability to compete, given that the deal would see Microsoft gain ownership of the Call of Duty series.

Sony welcomed the news, claiming Microsoft controlling games like Call of Duty “would have major negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry”.

Xbox remains open to further acquisitions as it ‘strives to be a major player’

In its response to the CMA’s announcement, Xbox said “it makes zero business sense for Microsoft to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation given its market leading console position.”

Spencer also told CNBC that Microsoft currently has no plans to increase Xbox console prices, but that doing so in the future can’t be ruled out