“Will Microsoft buy SEGA” is a question that has survived within the community since the death of the Dreamcast, but after years of speculation, we now have a concrete example of them trying to do just that… but very, very recently. As reported by The Verge, an e-mail from Xbox’s Phil Spencer shared during Microsoft’s FTC hearing shows that Spencer was seeking approval to approach SEGA Sammy in November of 2020.
Spencer touts SEGA’s portfolio and global appeal as big benefits for their Game Pass service; however, SEGA was among several companies being considered, including Supergiant Games, IO Interactive, and even Bungie. As history as borne out, none of these possible acquisitions were seen to completion, and Microsoft began pursuing Activision Blizzard following ABK’s repeated scandals.
Despite the will-they-won’t-they dogging Microsoft and SEGA over the years, buying SEGA comes with some complications, which Spencer acknowledges in the e-mail. Beyond the cultural barrier, SEGA is a major component of the larger SEGA Sammy group of animation studios, music labels, toy makers, travel resorts, pachinko machine makers, Japanese sports teams, and online-enabled arcade dart machine services. Even if Microsoft wasn’t able to buy SEGA outright, Like a Dragon and Persona fans can still find a hearty chunk of SEGA’s modern library on Game Pass.