SOMEONE HAS GIVEN the rumour mill an almighty kick as it's been suggested that Microsoft is considering buying-up game publishing behemoths EA and Steam, along with PUBG Corp.
Polygon cites a "reliable source" close to Microsoft who has allegedly tipped it off about Redmond's gaming ambitions.
Rumours of such acquisitions appear have been fuelled by the promotion of long-term Xbox figurehead Phil Spencer who will now head up Microsoft's leadership team, a move that shows show that Redmond is serious about its gaming division.
But the Xbox One, even with the 'most powerful console in the world' Xbox One X under its wing, still lags behind Sony's PlayStation 4 in terms of overall sales. Many would claim this is down to a lack of captivating exclusive games, so buying the biggest names in gaming could be one way past this.
EA is one of the biggest players in gaming with a net value of around $7bn, and Valve grew from a small startup into a massive game developer, publisher and gaming platform maker, so it's not short of cash either.
Relatively new firm PUBG Corp soared in value thanks to the success of Battle Royale-inspired Player Unknown's Battlegrounds and is now worth a few billion dollars.
This would mean Microsoft would need to dig deep to buy any of the gaming outfits.
And while EA's corporate nature might fit nicely under Redmond's banner, Valve tends to have a more holistic approach according to workplace stories and is a pretty independent company, so Microsoft could struggle to encourage it to sell to them without offering the moon on a stick.
But all that being said, Microsoft did manage to snap up hit game Minecraft and its developer Mojang for $2.5bn and that's worked out pretty well for its gaming division.
All these rumours need to be taken with a grain of salt. Yet, if Microsoft does indeed want to buy a gaming giant, then we'd expect it to do so one at a time or enter into partnerships rather than corporate acquisitions.
Either way, hopefully, this means an exciting year for the Xbox One and hopefully the improvement of Microsoft native gaming on Windows 10. µ
We should be shocked, but...
But the search giant has now squashed the bug
But it's not yet available here in Blighty