Unveiled documents emerging from the ongoing legal skirmish between the Federal Trade Commission and Microsoft surfaced on Tuesday, laying bare a treasure trove of internal correspondences concerning the corporation’s operations, forthcoming strategies for Xbox hardware, and potential targets for acquisition within the realm of gaming platforms.
Regrettably, these documents, which had seemingly resided on the website of the Northern District of California for a time, have since been expunged. From the disclosures, it is evident that Microsoft is in the throes of readying a novel iteration of its Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, in addition to a reimagined Xbox controller.
The impending incarnation of the flagship Xbox Series X console, clandestinely referred to as “Brooklin,” is slated for a 2024 debut, commanding a price point of $499. This iteration will eschew the extant version’s disc drive while substantially augmenting the onboard storage capacity from a modest 1 terabyte to a capacious 2 terabytes, as indicated in the records.
Moreover, the unmasked documents showcase the forthcoming Xbox controller bearing the codename “Sebile.” This iteration is poised to introduce long-sought-after features such as motion controls and “haptic feedback,” features hitherto synonymous with the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Switch Controllers.
A pivotal revelation gleaned from the filing spotlights internal communications transpiring in 2020 within the corporation. These discussions revolved around the plausible acquisition of Nintendo, the creators of the iconic Mario franchise, the eminent PC gaming conglomerate Valve, and the gaming division of Warner Bros.
To elucidate further, this discourse regarding the prospective procurement of Nintendo, one of Microsoft’s principal competitors in the domain of console gaming, alongside Sony, unfolded within an internal email exchange in August 2020. The interlocutors in this dialogue included Chris Capossela, the current chief marketing officer of Microsoft, Takeshi Numoto, the chief commercial marketing officer, and Phil Spencer, the steward of the Xbox domain.
Spencer’s missive opined that “Nintendo stands as the preeminent asset in the realm of Gaming, and currently, Gaming stands as our most plausible avenue to securing consumer relevance.” Spencer contended that, among U.S. entities, Microsoft occupied the most advantageous vantage point for a potential acquisition of Nintendo. However, he ruefully noted the “unenviable (or fortuitous for Nintendo) reality” that Nintendo was in possession of substantial financial reserves.
In a notable excerpt further along in the email exchange, Spencer espoused, “Acquiring Nintendo at some juncture would represent a milestone in one’s career, and I genuinely believe it would constitute a judicious move for both entities. The protraction of Nintendo’s realization that its destiny resides beyond the realm of proprietary hardware is, alas, a protracted one…. :-).”
It is worth noting in passing that notwithstanding Spencer’s reservations about Nintendo’s hardware-centric trajectory, the Nintendo Switch has triumphed, amassing sales exceeding 129 million units thus far. This places it as the third most successful console in history, trailing only behind the Sony PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo DS. In juxtaposition, the previous generation Xbox One achieved sales of approximately 58 million units, while the present-day Xbox Series S and X have accumulated just over 21 million units sold.
In summation, these confidential communiqués inadvertently unveiled via the leaked Xbox executive email lay bare Microsoft’s aspirations of acquiring Nintendo, a maneuver that could have monumental ramifications within the realm of gaming.