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Sega exec says Microsoft relationship is not leading to acquisition

Just developers being business partners, no acquisition on the horizon.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 29, 2023

2 Min Read
Kazuma Kiryu and Ichiban Kasugan in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth.

Sega's chief operating officer Shuji Utsumi has made it clear the Japanese developer currently isn't up to be acquired, not even by Microsoft. Speaking to Bloomberg Japan, the COO was asked about the possibility of it being bought up, and he plainly stated, "No, not right now."

Earlier in the week, court documents for the Microsoft v. FTC trial revealed that Sega was being considered as a potential acquisition target. Part of the reasoning was that Sega would help Microsoft establish a bigger presence in Japan, and its wide range of titles would help boost Xbox's Game Pass catalog. 

The two developers have had an interesting relationship over the years. At time of writing, all of the mainline Like a Dragon games (under the franchise's western title, Yakuza) are on Game Pass, as are the Xbox versions of Atlus' recent Persona re-releases such as Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable.

Next year, that relationship is set to continue with Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth and Persona 3 Reload both releasing day one on Game Pass. 

Despite that, Utsumi continued to say his company and Microsoft are "very close, and [we] have a great relationship with its management team. [...] Xbox’s Phil Spencer and Sarah Bond are really serious about values that video game fans emphasize."

In addition to Sega, Microsoft also has a fairly good relationship with Capcom. Several Resident Evil and Monster Hunter titles are (or have previously been) on Game Pass, and July's Exoprimal will have a day one release on the service. 

Similarly, titles from Square Enix like the original Octopath Traveler, Dragon Quest XI, and the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy have been Game Pass titles. That said, the last handful of big Square releases (like Octopath Traveler II and Forspoken) have released on consoles beyond Xbox, so that partnership may have fully run its course.

Still, the relationships Microsoft has made with three of Japan's biggest game publishers may be the best way it achieves bigger visibility in the Asian market without just outright buying one of them.

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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