Xbox is continuing discussions with Japanese game developers ‘big and small’ as it continues its search for studio acquisitions in the country.
That’s according to a new report from Bloomberg, which states that several Japan-based game developers, “from small to big”, indicated that they had been approached by Microsoft about buying their businesses.
The companies asked not to be identified as the talks were private, Bloomberg said, and declined to give details on how the discussions went.
Microsoft is making renewed efforts in Japan with its latest console launch. Xbox Series X and S will launch day-and-date with other territories on November 10 (compared to a year later with its previous console) and Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said it intends to better cater to Japanese players this console generation.
Since it launched Xbox Game Pass for both console and PC in Japan this past April, Xbox has seen more player activity than in any time in its history in Japan, Spencer claimed.
The exec openly expressed a desire to acquire an Asian game developer, “in particular a Japanese studio”, on multiple occasions in 2019.
Asked by Bloomberg to comment on its acquisition efforts, Jeremy Hinton, head of Xbox operations in Asia, said that acquisitions were a possibility and that the company was “always open to discussions with creators that are a good fit”.
The publication also cited Xbox’s head of developer relations, Sarah Bond, who reportedly said that Microsoft was stepping up discussions with Japan-based game developers about releasing titles on Xbox.
Koei Tecmo is said to be one of those firms. Hisashi Koinuma, president of the Japanese publisher, told Bloomberg he’s willing to consider releasing more games for Xbox if the company shows continued interest in Japan.
Xbox Series X/S pre-orders quickly sold out at Japanese retailers in September. Given Xbox’s historically poor market performance in Japan, stock is unlikely to have been high, but it’s regardless a positive start in a country where Xbox has typically struggled.
Speaking to Famitsu (translated by VGC contributor Robert Sephazon), Spencer called the pre-sale performance “the first step in a much longer marathon” and said Microsoft would ship more consoles before and after Series X and S’s November launch.
“It humbles me to consider how well the Xbox Series X/S has been welcomed by Japanese fans,” he said.
“With the goals we’re working towards for the Xbox Series X/S, this is only the first step in a much longer marathon, but I’m very happy to know how much everyone is expecting from us, and it motivates us even more when pre orders sell out.”