Microsoft/Xbox is back in “Buying Mode” and will look to acquire new studios in this fiscal year (June 2020 to July 2021) - Per Klobrille and MS annual report

Not sure if someone already posted this, and if so please delete mods, but Klobrille highlighted a rather important point from the annual report from Microsoft.

Sounds like meat’s back on the menu lads/ladies! What studios do we think are viable options or at least worthwhile pursuits?

Personally, I’m fond of the following:

  • Asobo
  • Frontier
  • Bloober
  • IOI
  • Remedy
  • 11-bit Studios
  • WB Games - obviously, there are mixed signals on this one but I think the pedigree of the majority of the studios is too good to pass on, even without most of the IP

What do you all think?

As an aside - I’m a total noob on Discours, like @Sikamikanico, I’m a bit of a dinosaur and still getting used to this new fangled forum tech… so if someone could let me know how to upload an image banner… that would be awesome :slight_smile:

Edit: Removed 4A Games from the list as they’ve been purchased by THQ.

Edit 2: Strikethrough for WB Games now that they’ve rescinded the sale.

11 Likes

My money would be where XGS needs to fill the gaps. They already have both small and large projects in the pipeline at most of their studios.

WRPG seems to be a box that is firmly ticked with InXile, Obsidian and Playground. Racing is covered by 2 teams. Then they have action adventure oriented teams with Initiative, Coalition, Compulsion. Undead does survival SIM/RPG and 343i has the Halo and FPS area covered. Not to mention World’s End Willbe doing strategy going forward.

I think a large JRPG team could be perfect for them, especially if they want Game Pass to have truly global reach. After that anyone else with high quality output would be a bonus like Asobo, Techland, Bloober, Airship Syndicate etc there are many to look at.

Around25 active teams is what’s required to sustain Game Pass with super high quality titles.

4 Likes

Reading the past few investor falls, there’s no reading between the lines. They are high on gaming. They want a cadence of high quality content that their current allotment of studios, as good as they are, are not capable of meeting on their own today. They are in a new fiscal year and in aquisition mode. Question isn’t if. It’s when. They’ve been fishing. Will be interesting to see who’s bitten.

4 Likes

Depending if the studios are ok to be bought, I would see:

  • 4A Games (Metro)
  • CSG Studios (STALKER)
  • Asobo (Plague Tale, Flight Simulator)
  • Bloober (Blair Witch, Layers of Fear, The Medium, Observer)

I don’t think that WB would be a good pick without the IPs. And it would be years before they can pivot from their current projects.

And I would like a new studio created from scratch that would be the MS equivalent of Bluepoint Games (remakes from the MS portfolio like Bluepoint did with Shadow of the Colossus and Demon’s Souls on the PS4/PS5)

3 Likes

Xbox is lacking in third person action adventure games akin to Sony’s output.

Asobo and Bloober are putting those out right now. They’d make the most sense. WB Games would be a huge acquisition for studio talent alone, forget about the licensed IP.

2 Likes

I’d honestly prefer they invest in creating new studios and jobs instead of buying existing studios. I feel like that’s a better way to expand the industry as a whole. It might take longer for that investment to start generating a return but should create more jobs overall in the industry

3 Likes

AT&T has publicly stated that they’re not looking to sell WB Interactive so that won’t be happening

1 Like

Have a feeling that they will try to get Asobo, Bloober and Bungie.

2 Likes

Man, no. Just please God, no! Screw what Sony is doing. If Sony games are your jam, get with Sony about that. Let Microsoft keep doing what their doing without trying to ape Sony.

Can you imagine the fallout if Microsoft were to try and do what Sony is doing? 10:1 the game would be torn to shreds by the gaming public and Microsoft would essentially be admitting defeat as the whole discussion would be, "Microsoft tried to mimic Sony and failed ". That stain would remain for as long as Microsoft is a major player in the game. They’d never be able to move past it. The gaming public wouldn’t allow it.

No, MS. NEVER try to ape Sony. Do what you do best and master that. Its better to forge new roads than follow someone else’s.

12 Likes

Completely agree on all points, and that’s why I think Bloober, Asobo, and some of the others (especially Rocksteady/Netherealm) would be great gap-fillers in the portfolio. I tend to forget Japanese studios because those types of acquisitions are inherently harder due to the Japanese government’s stance on foreign acquisitions (understandable), but I think JP Games, Mistwalker/Feelplus would be fantastic gets. Plus a deeper partnership with Capcom and/or Sega (love how much that relationship has already flourished with Yakuza and PSO, and would love more), and maybe even an exclusive through Global Publishing.

2 Likes

I think they should make third person story fames if the devs want to (Hellblade 2, Plague Tale 2 if they get Asobo) but not to hit a quota.

7 Likes

I think XGS output has been ok this generation, and there’s some exciting games on the horizon, but I wouldn’t mind if they had a 3rd person single player story driven action game in their upcoming output - and maybe that game is Hellblade 2, but I’d like to see a bit more as well. I wouldn’t want it to be a core focus of XGS, but it is a type of game I’d like to see in their portfolio. I don’t think they’d be “aping Sony” if they did so, while maintaining the diversity they currently have

2 Likes

There will be third person narrative driven games on Series X for sure. But not like Sony’s. Sony games follow a specific formula. You can see that formula in just about all their BB games. Microsoft need to stay far and away from the formula. If they were to even try to replicate that formula, they gotta know that as long as the name over the door of that company reads as, M I C R O S O F T, that game will be met with vehement hate. Producing games is risky enough. Aping your closest competitors formula is admitting defeat in and of itself. The vast majority of the gaming community would do the rest. It ain’t worth it.

3 Likes

Agreed. I buy Xbox because I appreciate diversity in play styles and I know that (at least with the newer Xbox leadership) I’ll get creative, unique titles. Sony definitely have other titles than just their narrative third-person titles, but they’re often not great games and their primary focus seems to be capturing that specific niche. Xbox is at its best when it’s doing the Xbox thing; for all the narrative that they only have Gears, Forza, and Halo, we all know that’s a false narrative that ignores some genuine bangers, some of which are creative risks. State of Decay 1 and 2, despite its jank, is one of those games that I feel none of the other Big Three would have funded; it’s not your typical big-budget, AAA formulaic zombie title, as it’s just as much about strategy and community-building, as it is about killing zombies.

1 Like

Good to hear this said “out loud” though I kind of felt they weren’t done anyway.

Personally having Bungie and Remedy in XGS would be the dream IMO, as they are both proven companies with obvious ties to MS. Of course they are both successful on their own, and from my understanding not looking to be acquired, so just a dream.

WB would be a huge get, but price may be too high without some of the accompanying IPs.

To be honest, any good news at this point, would go a long way to covering the sting of the Halo delay.

1 Like

Fable will almost certainly be a 3rd person action adventure rpg.

1 Like

Bloober makes the most sense. They’ve worked with MS as a second party now w/ Blair Witch launch exclusivity and now the Medium. Also, they have a track record of releasing AA games at a consistent pace. Hell, in 4 years they’ve released 5 games. That’s impressive. Their games also fill a nice spot, short single player horror experience. I think it makes a lot of sense.

I’d like to see Remedy become 1st party. Let them work on Alan Wake 2 and Control 2, or whatever. I also think 4A, Farm 51, and IOI make a lot of sense.

That is exciting!

Hopefully they buy a huge studio next. Not saying past acquisitions were bad, but something like Rocksteady, Netherrealm would be great.

Time to show the world what youre capable of MS!

1 Like

I honestly don’t think you have anything to worry about. When people say this they typically mean “please copy Naughty Dog”. Sometimes they throw God of War in there. And I just don’t see MS doing anything like that. Hellblade is probably as close as they come, or a hypothetical Asobo acquisition + Plague Tale 2.

3 Likes

Exactly. The gorgeous thing about XGS tentpole titles that seperates them from the competition is the well executed MP that exist inside their respective universe. Sony nor Nintendo have been able to replicate those yet. And when you add in other titles like SoD I and II to the mix, or Ori I and II, Outer Worlds, SoT and stuff like that, things get hella interesting. I personally love that kind of diversity. No two titles are the same.

That kind of risk taking should be embraced. And I’m glad XGS takes those kind of risks. The Microsoft formula is no formula and great gsmeplay. I dig it!

1 Like