Xbox Studios in 3 years

How it started

How its going


To be fair it seems like Microsoft was really cutting funds 3 or 4 years ago. But they seemed to quickly reorganize and are now spending a lot of money on xbox


I dunno, back when he made that claim you could see already investments ramping up. So much that IIRC Phil immediately replied to that tweet saying that it was not true and Xbox was receiving more investments already.

For example some of the partnerships/purchases that we saw started around that time frame, we just got incorrect reports that there was no involvement from Ms like Playground rpg game that insiders even claimed it was signed to another publisher and would be multiplatform and later we got evidence that it was always Fable.


Yeah. The OP comparison is great to see how far Microsoft has advanced and is on the verge to gather all the good fruits. But people are using that to bash Ahmad on Twitter as if Microsoft wasn’t stumbling in 2017. Phil Spencer only started to report directly to Nadella later that year.

Nonetheless, even if Ahmad’s tweet was full of shit, there are no excuses to bash anyone. Ever. Just ignore whoever it is and move on.

Exactly. When he posted those tweets, that was the case for Xbox. Shortly after that, Satya asked Phil why they were in the game business and that’s when Phil responded that if they were to stay in, they go all the way. Afterwards, Phil was promoted and things escalated from there. Anyone using those tweets to bash Ahmad need to have their reasoning checked at the door. No one could see how much Xbox would change a few years later and that’s a good thing.


See, I don’t think that’s the case at all; at the time of this tweet Microsoft would have already started, if not been in the middle of, negotiations with all of the studios that become part of Xbox Game Studios in 2018 (Obsidian, InXile, PlayGround, Ninja Theory, and Compulsion). I’ve only been involved in acquisitions at the tale end from a tech/IP perspective and I am willing to bet a year’s salary that every single one of these negotiations took longer than nine months.

I’m not denying that at a point late in the 360 and early in the Xbox One generation there was a considerably smaller budget, but it sure as hell wasn’t in 2017 when they started allocating at least a quarter of a billion dollars to acquire five studios (and that is the most conservative guess at the total cost of these acquisitions, as I’m also willing to bet it was more than that). So I’m going to have to adamantly disagree with Daniel Ahmad (as I usually do), because anyone with a sense of how long mergers and acquisitions take would be able to corroborate my statement.


I felt like this point needed a reply to the general thread as well, but Phil Spencer was promoted to the role of Executive Vice President of Gaming in September 2017. This position did not exist prior to Phil’s promotion and I’m sorry but again, I have to highlight how completely off planet Ahmed was with his statement; you don’t begin acquisition talks AND create a position that sits literally at the top of Microsoft’s corporate leadership if his statement rang with any sense of truth at the time. None of the events in 2017 or 2018 give any credence to that statement; if he were talking about 2014 or 2015, sure I could see it, but we’re talking about a year where they were releasing the Xbox One X, started or neared conclusion of a myriad of studio acquisitions, and created an Executive-level position to spearhead what we’ve all seen as a result.

Sorry but maybe we should stop giving so much credence to someone who’s often wrong more than right (except when leaking things right before a conference where others have the same knowledge but choose not to ruin a whole team of people’s work), as @Shpeshal_Nick coyly remarked on Twitter.


In 3 more yrs, XGS will be putting out AAA hits on a bi-monthly basis, more 3rd parties will be doing day 1 GP launches, xCloud will be a major player, and devs will be really tapping into machine learning and VRS and RT tricks and whatnot for XSX. More and more games will leverage Azure in the same sorta ways FlightSim did. Bethesda will be showcasing their new games alongside other XGS titles and we will likely be getting 3-4 major media conferences for Xbox each year.

It will be the golden age for Xbox imho.


What you’re saying makes sense if the acquisitions were done by the time they announced them in 2018 but they weren’t.

Of course some of them weren’t but that doesn’t change anything at all about any of my statement; you don’t announce an acquisition if it’s not in the final stages of closing, thus guaranteeing that those discussions with any or all of those aforementioned studios began before August. Furthermore, look at my second response about Phil having an entire EVP position created for him and promoted to said position in September 2017… that doesn’t happen if Xbox is put on the chopping block or the checkbook is being closed. Can we stop ignoring basic history and business acumen just because it’s ZHuge?


Yes, they do make similar announcements even if they aren’t in the final stages, just look at the Zenimax acquisition. That doesn’t look to finalize until the later half of 2021.

I just don’t see the point in needlessly bashing anyone. What he tweeted back then could have been the latest thing he heard about the division. Considering how the division was imploding under Terry Myerson, it’s not hard to think there is some truth to the story. Nothing changed until Phil’s promotion in Sept 2017 and I recall hearing that budgets weren’t reallocated until early 2018.

It’s great to see how far Xbox has come in the past 3 years but I don’t want this thread to be an argument of bad faith over someone some people disagree with. None of this is directed at you but please understand that we don’t go after people on this forum, whether or not they are members.

You honestly think those negotiations for the aforementioned studios didn’t begin before 2018? I’m sorry but I’ve been involved in two acquisitions and both were extremely small and still took 2-3 years. By all accounts Bethesda was in talks for at least two years prior to the announcement and from the bits I’ve heard look to finalize within the next six months. Obsidian had mentioned in an interview that final bits of the acquisition had finalized around six months after the announcement, as another example.

It’s fair enough that you don’t want to bag on any individual and I can agree wholeheartedly, so instead let me say that in this singular instance then ZHuge was wrong. Aside from my aforementioned reasons, it’s important to note that the new fiscal year for Microsoft starts in July, so all of the monies would have been allocated for the acquisitions announced in June 2018, Phil’s EVP position would have been in draft org charts by that point, etc.

So again, as of August 2017 when he made that tweet, all the cards would have already been stocked in contradiction to his claims.

Edit: A word


PSA that Ahmad’s handle is based on a famous Chinese historical figure, Zhuge Liang (pronounced approximately Jew Guh, also seen in his avatar) and is not Z-Huge as Ed likes to say lol. That is all :slight_smile:


That ZHugeEX guy is known to be biased on the sony side, take no notice of him.


Nah, Nadella asked Phil abouts Xbox direction and role in Microsoft when he got the CEO position and Spencer was promoted to head of Xbox. This was 2014, not 2017. But the restructuring inside Microsoft happend 2017/2018 with more focus on xbox on their own. After the minecraft aquisition Xbox was not on the chopping block anymore but they only got more budget after Game Pass started. So Zhuge got probably corret information, just a bit old at that point.

Xbox head Phil Spencer told Microsoft to go ‘all-in’ on gaming when brand was threatened | Windows Central (


Like others have said, things changed quickly at Xbox. Lots of people were hearing bad things about the direction of the division in 2017. Around the time of E3 2017, there were rumors Microsoft was considering getting out of gaming despite the fact they were launching a new console that year (which had been in the works for years). Launching that console without new tentpole 1st games on the horizon only supported the rumors. Both Spencer and Nadella have since confirmed that Microsoft reached a crossroads with the division. We don’t know the exact time of the conversation. We do know the first actions came shortly after that Tweet. It does highlight how much has happened in 3 years.

Regardless of whether Zhuge was right or wrong, Xbox has come a hell of a long way since then. I’m looking forward to the next 3 years. :beers:


I’ve only been involved in one midsized acquisition and that took about 8 months from start to signing the papers. There seems to be so many factors that it’s really hard to pin down when the ball could have gotten rolling.

Thanks for the correction. I have to wonder why it took 3 years to move Phil from under Terry after he expressed wanting to go all in.

It seems like you two either missed or ignored when I said earlier that we don’t go after people here. Cut it with the name calling and attacks. We are better than this.


I think those are fair points, especially with the arbitrary timing for acquisitions, but I think we can all agree that the original tweet was wrong at the time given the timeline of everything we do know (had this been 2014, there’d be no disagreement whatsoever). I do also wonder why it took so long for us to see the effect of that shit, though I have to remember that in late 2014 I imagine that Project Scorpio was the first allocation of monies; of course large organizations also are usually slower to make drastic changes in the short term.

As you said though, I would never have imagined Xbox to be where it is now even three years ago. It’s exciting times. Apologies if I came across as aggressive, but I am glad that we can have disagreements and adapt when new information is presented unlike some places.


Good question! If I had to speculate I would say it took some time to gain Nadellas full trust. The Xbox divisions revenue was a bit stagnant till 2017/2018. Or maybe they first wanted to fix their own house and vision before going on a studio aquisition tour.