Microsoft (full name Microsoft Corporation) is a technology industry conglomerate with its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, United States.

About Microsoft

Primarily a software publisher from its founding in 1975, Microsoft is best known as creator of the Windows family of operating systems, also branching into computer hardware and peripherals over its 40-plus-year history.

Role in video games

As mentioned, Microsoft's role was predominantly in software, but its Japanese unit reportedly devised its own hobby computer platform in 1983, the MSX, upon which the original Final Fantasy was built, along with several other notable franchises. It is not known how many such units had been produced, and the platform was never released in the United States.

Former Microsoft Game Studios banner
Although Microsoft has made several games for the Windows platform under the labels of Microsoft Game Studios and Games for Windows [Live], the company made its first formal foray into gaming with the original Xbox console's 2001 release. At the time, it displaced Nintendo and Sony's joint rival in Sega, which was already exiting the then-brutal hardware market to become a software developer. The Xbox's entry was able to make its presence felt and gain a following, but it failed to conquer the twin juggernaut of Nintendo and Sony[1].

Fortunes would reverse beginning in 2005, when the Xbox 360 made its debut. Though it also was overshadowed by the PlayStation 3 and the Wii in units sold, the 360's robust platform would allow Square Enix to extend the Final Fantasy series onto Microsoft consoles for the first time in 2009 and 2010.

With the current Xbox One, Microsoft has built a brand strong enough to contend with both Sony and Nintendo. The console's sales were widely reported to have bested those of the PlayStation 4 in mid-2016, but Microsoft seldom releases its sales numbers; as of year-end 2016, Sony posted 53 million installed units to the Wii U's 13 million[2].

In the mobile space

Microsoft has had efforts in mobile as well, dating as far back as 1998. What began as a compact platform for small devices would ultimately evolve into its own dedicated branch of Windows and a partnership with Finnish cell phone maker Nokia, whose business Microsoft would absorb in 2014 in hopes of standing against Apple's iOS and Google's Android. Microsoft's strategy has been dubbed a failure[3], as Windows Mobile holds less than 1% of the overall mobile market[4]. Yet, Final Fantasy can be found on Windows Mobile devices as well.


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