Five more game studios rumored to be snapped up by Microsoft

Soupreme

Posts: 34   +2
Staff
Forward-looking: With their E3 showcase right around the corner, rumors are flying that Microsoft has acquired five more game developers for their Xbox Game Studios lineup, giving them a growing roster of first-party output they can leverage for their Game Pass-focused strategy for this console generation.

Microsoft made waves last year with the purchase of ZeniMax, parent of Bethesda Softworks, bringing its collection of game IP and development teams into the Xbox Game Studios brand. It was a dramatic move aimed to strengthen the assortment of first-party exclusives that the Xbox Series X|S would have in the future, an area where Xbox lost big time to Sony's PlayStation last generation.

Now Microsoft is rumored to be bringing another five studios in-house. Colteastwood of the Xbox News Cast podcast stated cryptically that "26 is the new 23" on Thursday, before adding that "28 is better" a day later -- seemingly referring to the number of studios working under the Xbox umbrella. While reporter Jeff Grubb added to the speculation by claiming to have heard IO Interactive, Avalanche, and Crytek mentioned in relation to the acquisitions, with mention of NetherRealm and Rocksteady picked up after that.

IO Interactive is best known for the Hitman series, and was part of Square Enix until a management buyout brought them independence in mid-2017; Avalanche, currently owned by Nordisk Film, have Mad Max and the Just Cause series under their belt, as well as having worked with id Software on Rage 2.

Crytek put themselves on the map with the first Far Cry title, and of course, the Crysis trilogy, while NetherRealm and Rocksteady have found success with DC Comics' IP, producing the Injustice and Batman Arkham games, respectively.

Microsoft's strategy for the current generation is heavily focused on Game Pass, quickly snapping up third-party games like Outriders and aiming to cover console, PC, and even TVs via xCloud game streaming.

The ZeniMax acquisition brought a sizable back catalog to Game Pass, too, with big names such as The Elder Scrolls, Dishonored, and the DOOM reboots quickly finding their way into the game roster.

But getting more developers working under the Xbox Game Studios umbrella means more exclusives in the future, and Microsoft's pledge to bring them to Game Pass immediately on release makes the subscription ever more enticing to gamers that simply might not have the stomach (or wallet!) for waves of $70 new releases.

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m4a4

Posts: 2,491   +2,878
TechSpot Elite
Are we allowed to say the Xbox has games yet?
As long as MS keeps their commitments to PC (and to crossplay), sure.

Would love to see more pressure on Sony to finally leave their antiquated view on how first party games should be hoarded. They should be competing with the PC publishers (now fully includes MS) on this open platform by now...

As long as they port games over well, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 941   +1,734
Looks like Microsoft wants to pick up a fight directly with Ubisoft trying to just buy out as many open ended/sandbox game devs as it can.

This is....Not a terrible development honestly: I really like sandbox games that are well done and Ubisoft has been dropping the ball quite a bit with their brand by becoming far too repetitive to the point that things like finding some form of tower is a meme for basically anything Ubisoft.

There is a chance Microsoft could also become the new EA though: Buy a dev studio or small publishers, extract the properties and dissolve the studio. That would be...worrying to say the least.
 

Kosmoz

Posts: 378   +681
There is a chance Microsoft could also become the new EA though: Buy a dev studio or small publishers, extract the properties and dissolve the studio. That would be...worrying to say the least.
This is the biggest issue I see too... at which point this thing gets too big for it's own good?

So far they keep buying everyone, but if they do not deliver, what then?

Sony has 14 1st party studios and a few 2nd party ones too (consider them unofficially 1st party), but most of them produce hits after hits for years now... So MS needs to produce a lot of hits to justify having double the 1st party studios numbers vs Sony.

Let's say MS have 26 or 28 1st party studios, if half of them make mediocre games, that's bad, really bad... But so far they need to show they can make 1 new great game, just 1... we're still waiting... waiting for years.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 941   +1,734
This is the biggest issue I see too... at which point this thing gets too big for it's own good?

So far they keep buying everyone, but if they do not deliver, what then?

Sony has 14 1st party studios and a few 2nd party ones too (consider them unofficially 1st party), but most of them produce hits after hits for years now... So MS needs to produce a lot of hits to justify having double the 1st party studios numbers vs Sony.

Let's say MS have 26 or 28 1st party studios, if half of them make mediocre games, that's bad, really bad... But so far they need to show they can make 1 new great game, just 1... we're still waiting... waiting for years.
Yep: The solution to escalating technical and personnel requirements, to attempt to tame down development times and costs shouldn't be "Just own a lot of developer studios" because then it becomes an internal struggle that any of them can easily fail with just one perceived misstep. "Perceived" because even if the game is very well received, gets ROI fast and a healthy profit on top, if it's not a runaway success capable of competing with massive franchises then it would be sent to the backburner/lower budget plane.

I know this is crazy since both Sony and Microsoft are very entrenched in a self-fulfilling prophecy about a technology arms race but just making a fun and complex game that doesn't necessarily strives for photorealistic visuals would basically solve most of the development costs issues they have right now: It's ok to release a 2D RPG game if it's really, REALLY well received and loved by everybody like Disco Elysium because while it's never going to make you GTA V money is also going to cost you orders of magnitude less money to develop and it's basically all profit.
 

Xex360

Posts: 134   +173
Good news for gamers, the more games available for both consoles and PCs the better, everyone's happy.
 

Tom Yum

Posts: 113   +250
Good news for gamers, the more games available for both consoles and PCs the better, everyone's happy.
You know what would be good for gamers? MS actually creating new studio's to launch new IP, not just acquiring existing studio's and reducing competition. Do you think Gamepass will remain as cheap as it is once a subscription becomes pseudo-mandatory because MS has purchased half the established AAA franchise developers? Monopolies never lead to better outcomes for consumers .
 

Edster

Posts: 98   +71
You know what would be good for gamers? MS actually creating new studio's to launch new IP, not just acquiring existing studio's and reducing competition. Do you think Gamepass will remain as cheap as it is once a subscription becomes pseudo-mandatory because MS has purchased half the established AAA franchise developers? Monopolies never lead to better outcomes for consumers .

This: So much. I wouldn't mind at all if MS announces new studio, throw even more money at it, is a Xbox/PC exclusive because we are going to get new IP. It will be a new game, new experience and bold. MS buying new studio just means... ok, I will only be able to buy the game on PC rather than a choice between PS5 or PC (or Switch).

Ultimately, in an ironic kind of way, I much rather EA, Activision, Square Enix, or Ubisoft buying studios than Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo (nor Steam for that matter) because the former have an incentive to push the games to many people and platform as possible whereas the latter have an agenda to push their own platform. (Well, maybe not EA).
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 468   +365
I wonder if MS are also playing a long game - as tech gets better to bring game pass to their own phone solution ( windows/android dual system ) - I mean play a game on PC , Xbox , phone on the move, phone cast to big screen, phone off PC , while another family member does homework on it - they will not be the only ones after this market - Nvidia ( especially with ARM ), Value bring steam to android .

If so how would Apple react ?- especially if publishers say screw your 30%
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,583   +1,597
TechSpot Elite
Man, Microsoft is getting serious. Again.
Though I do hope at least some games from all studios in the future make it to the PlayStation.
Not likely but, maybe?

EDIT - I do agree this will obviously bolster Game Pass, which I think is by far the best entertainment value out there for streamers that are also gamers.
I mean, second place isn't even close.
 
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defaultluser

Posts: 228   +206
The problem MS has always had is the tiny size of the studios it purchased. it then lacks any long-term management goals to successfully grow the property.

Bungie was self-sustaining, so they just let them run-loose. managing the franchise first decade of growth ( and once they left, it quickly hit a quality wall)

Bethesda is the first self-sustaining game studio they've acquired in twenty years ( and that is why the platform still sucks)

The last successful new game series introed by a ms studio was fable.
 
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Lounds

Posts: 896   +796
Sony has proved they have years of scheduled games for the life of each PlayStation gen, I think Marvel's Spiderman had a 5 year development plan, not many studios get that opportunity. The problem Microsoft is they started too late and now are playing catch up with a good first party library outside of Gears and Halo.
 

Xex360

Posts: 134   +173
You know what would be good for gamers? MS actually creating new studio's to launch new IP, not just acquiring existing studio's and reducing competition. Do you think Gamepass will remain as cheap as it is once a subscription becomes pseudo-mandatory because MS has purchased half the established AAA franchise developers? Monopolies never lead to better outcomes for consumers .
Where did I talk about GP, I just said it's good that gamers both on consoles and PC get to experience the games.
I see it differently, they are helping developers achieve they ideas. New IPs will come for sure.
I don't believe a monopoly is possible, we already have big players, EA, Ubisoft, Sony, Nintendo Konami... Plus we have Unreal, which you could use for free and only pay when you create something commercial (and achieve some success), so potential developers have the best tools for free to create games.
 

defaultluser

Posts: 228   +206
Where did I talk about GP, I just said it's good that gamers both on consoles and PC get to experience the games.
I see it differently, they are helping developers achieve they ideas. New IPs will come for sure.
I don't believe a monopoly is possible, we already have big players, EA, Ubisoft, Sony, Nintendo Konami... Plus we have Unreal, which you could use for free and only pay when you create something commercial (and achieve some success), so potential developers have the best tools for free to create games.

I disagree; Ori the blind forest is the highest-profile new MS IP in 5 years, and the game weapon loop is I incredibly castrated compared to other Metroidvanias - but it sold well, because console owners have no other choice.

If the new IPs are all uninspired, half-baked beautiful tripe, like Ryse: Son of Rome, there is nothing worth having on Gamepass. You only occasionally have new cohesive game like Sunset Overdrive (but it's broken game-play loop limited sales much like Ori).

When EA has two successful Parkour franchises under their belt, the complete cluster from Sunset Overdrive tells you exactly why you can continue to expect trash from MS; The only reason Ori sells well is because Nintendo has abandoned the franchise for a decade.
 
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DrSuess

Posts: 134   +105
This is the biggest issue I see too... at which point this thing gets too big for it's own good?

So far they keep buying everyone, but if they do not deliver, what then?

Sony has 14 1st party studios and a few 2nd party ones too (consider them unofficially 1st party), but most of them produce hits after hits for years now... So MS needs to produce a lot of hits to justify having double the 1st party studios numbers vs Sony.

Let's say MS have 26 or 28 1st party studios, if half of them make mediocre games, that's bad, really bad... But so far they need to show they can make 1 new great game, just 1... we're still waiting... waiting for years.
Not really sure MS is trying to compete with Sony anymore, if they were they would make these exclusive to the console to get more XBox users, which is not their current strategy. They are setting themselves up to compete against Google and Amazon in the game streaming service space.
 
As long as MS keeps their commitments to PC (and to crossplay), sure...]

What commitments? There's been a few exclusives they've taken over, promising the Earth and then failed to deliver.
They'll start locking these games behind a console, binding them to their PC AppStore and pulling them from other platforms like Steam (they've already done this to a few games).