Spencer says Nintendo's future "exists off of their own hardware."

More information has come from the leaked documents in the court battle between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Microsoft over the proposed purchase of Activision Blizzard. First was the mid-gen refresh for Series X|S, then came the leaked schedule for Bethesda's games, then we learned about the next-gen Xbox hardware. Now, we learn that head of Xbox Phil Spencer really, really wanted to purchase Nintendo. It's possible that he still does now, but back in August 2020 he was all about buying Nintendo.

The page in question shows an email exchange between Phil Spencer and Chris Capossela, Microsoft's chief marketing officer and executive vice-president. In the exchange, Spencer talked a lot about purchasing Nintendo, saying that it "would be a career moment" for him. That is, it would be a career defining moment had Microsoft attempted and succeeded in acquiring Nintendo.

Leaked Phil Spencer email about buying Nintendo, Valve, and WB Games.

In the exchange, Spencer mentions how the board of directors (BoD) saw proposals about the potential to purchase Nintendo. Spencer also mentions that the board also saw a similar full writeup on what it would take to acquire Steam owner and Half-Life developer Valve.

When it came to Nintendo, Spencer said that the biggest obstacle to purchasing the Mario maker is the fact that Nintendo "is sitting on a big pile of cash." He says that a "hostile action" to acquire Nintendo would be a bad idea and instead opted for "playing the long game." It probably didn't really help matters that Nintendo just wasn't interested in selling.

"Nintendo is THE prime asset for us in gaming and today gaming is our most likely path to consumer relevance."

"I’ve had numerous conversations with the LT of Nintendo about tighter collaboration and feel like if any US company would have a chance with Nintendo we are probably in the best position."
As for the acquisition of Valve, not much else was mentioned by Spencer. Really, the only mention of acquiring Valve was that brief bit about how the board of directors saw the "full writeup" on what it would take to acquire the studio.

Spencer continues on to say that they have had active discussions with both Warner Brothers Interactive (now WB Games) and ZeniMax. Both Amy (presumably Microsoft executive VP and CFO Amy Hood) and Satya (presumably Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft) said that Spencer was free to continue discussions with both Warner Brothers and ZeniMax. While Spencer seemed to be on board with continuing with ZeniMax, he had reservations concerning Warner Brothers as Microsoft would not actually own any of the IPs.

Spencer concludes his email by saying that the future of Nintendo "exists off of their own hardware." It does seem a little odd to say this given that the Switch alone has sold over 122 million units (as of February 2023) and Microsoft has sold just 21 million Xbox Series X|S consoles (as of July 2023). Nintendo really has no reason to jump ship or even to go multi-platform right now.