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It Could’ve Been Microsoft That Bought Gearbox

by on February 5, 2021

As reported yesterday, Embracer Group just purchased Gearbox Software, maker of Borderlands….but what’s this we’re learning? Embracer might not have been the only one making bids for the company? Who else was interested? ….Well, who do you think?

These days when you hear “a big company just bought a small company,” you expect Microsoft to be mentioned in the next sentence. You would have almost been right. According to Microsoft insider Brad Sams, that offer was on the table and they were giving it serious consideration.

Mictosoft’s XBox division has swallowed up a lot of studios now, the biggest whale being ZeniMax Media (Bethesda) last year. Sams has been hinting that there could be even more acquisitions in the works during 2021, and today, he had to admit Gearbox was one of the places he’d been hinting about.

This of course would have meant Microsoft taking ownership of Borderlands, but Gearbox also holds a few smaller and more dormant IPs Big Tech would have gobbled up as well, such as Duke Nukem (just think about the crossover potential between Duke and Cuphead).

What Sams wouldn’t say — and possibly doesn’t know — is why exactly the deal didn’t happen. Which party walked away, and why? If Sims is right about MS’s ambitions, though, we haven’t heard the end, and there could be a for-real buyout announcement sometime soon. In this humble and powerless reporter’s opinion, they already own enough stuff.

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