WB Interactive's list of titles includes IPs such as Harry Potter, Mortal Kombat, Batman and LEGO games, and while none of these properties have seen exclusive games under the WB umbrella, if Microsoft took control then it would be very easy for the American console maker to pull them (permanently or with timed exclusives) from Sony's next-gen PS5 system.
And, simply put, this move seems to make perfect sense for Microsoft, as one of the biggest reasons critics note (opens in new tab) for the Xbox One being beaten by the PS4 is that the Sony console had more exclusive games. The result? As of March 2020, the PS4 had sold more than 68 million more consoles (opens in new tab) than Xbox One, and that number is still increasing.
Indeed, you only have to look at the exclusive PS5 games already lined up by Sony, which compares very favourably to Xbox Series X's announced exclusives right now, to see how Microsoft needs to play catch up quick in order to get competitive in the next-gen console war.
Sony, though, according to a new report from respected U.S. news site Bloomberg (opens in new tab), has been secretly working to neutralise any Xbox Series X manoeuvre by Microsoft with a big acquisition of its very own.
That's because Sony is currently reported to be in talks to buy Chinese gaming giant Leyou for $1.23 billion and, excitingly, Leyou is apparently looking to "sign an agreement as soon as this month".
Leyou's current gaming catalogue includes the hits Warframe, Samurai Shodown and Dirty Bomb, while the company is currently working (opens in new tab) with Amazon to co-produce a video game based on The Lord of the Rings.
In terms of studios, it owns among others Certain Affinity, Digital Extremes, Splash Damage, Radiance Games, and Athlon Games, the latter who are responsible for publishing the recent Samurai Shodown title.
Now, while talks are still on-going and there are multiple interested parties in Leyou, "Sony is hoping that it can edge out other bidders with greater certainty of financing", the latest report reads.
And, if Sony does follow through and buy Leyou, then all of a sudden it has a brand new suite of exclusive developers and gaming franchises that it can use to further enhance its PlayStation 5 offering.
The prospect of even more exclusives being added to already locked-in blockbusters like Horizon: Forbidden West, God of War 2, Gran Turismo 7, Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us 2, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, among others, is tantalising for prospective PS5 gamers, and bad news for Microsoft and its Xbox Series X.
Because, after all, if Xbox Series X gamers see exclusive after exclusive landing on the PS5 then it won't matter how many teraflops their console is technically capable of outputting – their heads are going to start to be turned.
Suddenly that WB Interactive deal looks even more important...