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Microsoft considered acquiring Square Enix for mobile Game Pass plans

Microsoft has wanted to get its foot in the door for Japan and mobile games, and owning Square would've allowed for both.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 28, 2023

1 Min Read
Clive and Joshua Rosfield in Square Enix's Final Fantasy XVI.

Microsoft's trial with the FTC is revealing it previously looked at several studios to acquire, one of the biggest being Square Enix. 

Internal documents from 2019 reveal that Xbox was considering snatching up the Final Fantasy developer as part of its efforts to increase its visibility in Asia. That region (particularly Japan) has been a point of contention for Microsoft's console, and much like with Sega, Microsoft thought owning Square would give it an edge. 

Beyond adding Square Enix's plethora of titles to Game Pass down the line—which would also include franchises such as Octopath Traveler, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts—Microsoft wanted to use the developer's mobile catalog to similarly boost its presence in the mobile scene. 

The internal documents note that Square could potentially provide "future mobile-exclusive Game Pass offerings. Combining Square Enix’s robust mobile-native portfolio with our own could potentially help us create a mobile-native Xbox Game Pass SKU."

Over the years, Square Enix has released mobile-specific titles such as Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldierand re-released classic Final Fantasy games for phones. Microsoft is similarly pursuing Activision Blizzard in part for its large mobile presence, which underlines how serious it is about getting into that market.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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