Should Microsoft look into Movie Studios?

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I asked this question for the lovely prodigious assortment already on the latest podcats, but Sik suggested a thread pose it to the community.

Xbox Game Pass is an undeniable success thus far. It’s a great service with fantastic games that will only get better. However, competition looms from groups such as Luna, Apple Arcade and Netflix that integrate their games with their movie offerings, and it seems Sony is looking to do something similar and they already have a significant hold over movies, TV and especially Anime. Tencent also has a sizeable movie presence as well.

Amazon shocked the market by paying a ton for MGM, strengthening their film division and bringing tons of IP in house.

Nick mentioned on the podcast that Microsoft may be looking to film studios as well, albeit for them more than just Xbox. We know now that the following studios have proposed offers to bidders:

  • Legendary Pictures
  • A24
  • Imagine

Now, there are some points for and against this IMO.

For:

  • Buying studios can help bring creative control of adaptations in house. It’s harder to have shitty games adaptations when you’re a quick call away from the lore keepers. Hasbro bought film and music company Eone partially for this reason.
  • The creative landscape is being shaken up. While it is unlikely an “Xbox Movies Pass” can compete with the quantity of the output of Netflix, Amazon, etc. it is possible for them to take a quality-focused approach, having TV and Movies as supplemental gap fillers for Game Pass and a nice extra offering.
  • MS has been either late to the party or too early many times. It may be better to buy now while the market is only starting to heat up there.
  • If they buy a studio with significant IP with gaming potential, there are plenty of synergies there. Imagine they buy Paramount… bam! You now have the Star Trek license for games.

Against:

  • MS tried already, and it went horribly wrong, with TV TV TV being chanted across the world.
  • The film market is tough enough as is, maybe it’s better to be the “HBO of the game world” and make the others look like “Basic Cable” (Yes, I’m stealing your analogy Geoff).
  • It is likely the cost of a film studio will be more expensive than gaming.
  • The Amazon MGM deal seems to have gotten scrutiny from the FTC (albeit this is less of an issue given MS’s minimal presence there).
  • Tech and film have an interesting relationship that isn’t always smooth. Just see ATT&T or AOL with Warner.

Ultimately, I think it might be something worth pursuing, but the costs may be a big barrier. I 100% get why people would be averse to it, and it may not be needed by MS, but time and money is currently on their side in a way it won’t be going forward.

  • Yes
  • Yes, but only bigger studios (i.e. Paramount, Universal, etc.)
  • Yes, but only smaller studios (i.e. A24, Legendary, Lionsgate, etc.)
  • God No!!!
  • Other

0 voters

1 Like

I don’t think it’s wise. It would be costly and difficult. It only loosely relates to Microsoft’s current strategies and markets. I would vote a firm no.

If you insisted on trying to make it work, then go big or go home. There are three huge streaming players, 2 or 3 large streaming players, and a smattering of small ones. It’s a saturated market. Netflix has started hitting a ceiling in North America but is still modestly growing internationally. Film and TV production is not lean and highly profitable for most involved.

Ergo, I would argue that buying an established player is tbe inly thing that seems to have a likely path to success. HBO Discovery might be a good target as the cheapest of the 3 major players by far, if the owners were willing to sell. It would have a modest gaming synergy too. That’s still 130-150 billion dollars though! It’s a huge investment. Nbc Universal is 50% more. Netflix is 50% more and Disney is over double. Yet if you’re not buying a big boy, who are you buying? Amazon and Apple aren’t selling. Some 3rd or 4th rate service or minor movie studio doesn’t get you anywhere close to being a serious contender. Building from such a small scale is a multi year uphill battle.

1 Like

No

Outsource those costs and risks to someone else.

3 Likes

Yes.

They are approaching 2.5 trillion dollars. Just go ahead and buy that Discover/WB joint venture and call it a day. Be the Batman.

8 Likes

Xbox can still grow exponentially with far less spending and way more safety. Xbox is 1 or 2 Bethesda sized acquisitions away from starting to totally dominate gaming IMO. Once that exponential Xbox/Gamepass growth is achieved Microsoft can try to branch into other entertainment sectors but right now Xbox should be Microsoft number one priority in the entertainment area.

2 Likes

Microsoft has enough money and manpower to do anything , and as many things, as they want. A company of that size does need to have myopic focus on any one pillar of their business. They can walk and chew gum.

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Sorry the movie industry makes almost no money. That’s why they have sold their souls to the CCP for funding.

That’s doesn’t included the pedo, sexual harassment and plain nuttiness of the actors/directors etc. I would rather watch them burn money in the car park that get involved in that filth. Seriously the pron industry has more standards.

some genres need movie production like interactive movie or for cutscene my answer is , Yes they definitely need it

MS already has a lot of pillars: Software, Social Media, Cloud, AI, Gaming. The list goes on. But to me there’s no need for MS to risk themselves into a new venture when there’re still LOTS of room to grow in other areas that they already have a presence, like gaming. Microsoft already has a big market market share in gaming but it can still grow exponentially, MS should make sure that this happen before trying to branch into new services that they don’t have experiences with.

This is a really interesting topic btw.

Movies are a bad investment, gaming is much more popular and profitable.

3 Likes

in future sony will bundle their game with movie and series for their subscription services they can get movie viewer to gaming that will huge win for them , or even amazon

Recurring revenue (subscriptions). Added value.

Those are the only words needed in the discussion.

This isn’t a situation where you are worried about box office take. You are worried about adding people to whatever subscription you tie the content to.

MS should do that by buying more gaming studios rather than trying to break their way into a saturated market that they have no expertise with IMO. Buying publishers like Sega, Square, WB Gaming and Capcom would be way more effective into pushing Gamepass subscriptions than trying to make movies.

here is some example for interactive movie game style Dragon's Lair Playthrough 1080p - Full Screen High Quality - YouTube
this game was made in 1983
List of interactive movies :List of interactive movies - Wikipedia

I would rather Microsoft join the chicken sandwich war

1 Like

Dontnod, Supermassive and Telltale make games similar to that, if MS wants content like this they should buy gaming studios like these instead of buying actual movie studios.

And they will. The idea people have that they can only do one thing is bizarre. If they try it and they fail, the literally write it off and move on with next to no impact on their bottom line. They are literally larger than the entire economies of nations.

For Microsoft to make a reasonable play in movies, it would need to go far beyond a single studio. They would need to acquire one of the big boys that already has enough content for a streaming service (like Disney or Warner/HBO).

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Nobody thinks MS should only do one thing, we just don’t think they should get into movies.

3 Likes

they should acquire them i agree but making interactive movie with camera shot is cheaper and faster game studio cant make movie they are not completely similar( maybe 50% )