2018 has been a pinnacle year for Microsoft studios after going on a massive spending spree acquiring about half a dozen development studios to bolster the Microsoft first party line-up.
Head of Microsoft Studios Matt Booty and Phil Spencer the Head of the Xbox Division has reiterated that these studios will operate in the same autonomous way as they have in the past with no interference from Microsoft (but there is probably a fine print attached to that statement).
The biq question on everybody’s mind is, is MS done acquiring studios?
Quite a number of the industry folk are under the impression that MS even if they have more studios by the numbers than Sony and Nintendo, they are not done yet and might still be on the lookout or are already in negotiations with atleast 1 or 2 other studios.
They question is which studios? We know that Hazelight studios (Brothers a Tale of 2 Sons and a Way out) was almost bought by MS and the deal fell through near the end but who else is potentially viable to join their first party lineup.
Personally i think MS should make a move on Crytek as they are not a 100% financially stable, they have an amazing game engine and they own quite a few well received IP’s they also made Ryse Son of Rome as an Xbox One Launch Exclusive, the issue is IP’s like crysis and Halo might end up clashing as they’re pretty similar but Hunt:Showdown looks like it has a ton of potential.
Another potential candidate in my book is Sumo Digital, yes they only own Snake Pass as an IP but they have made a lot of titles and they did the original outrun 2 port on the OG Xbox.
They also made Forza Horizon 2 for the 360 they assisted with Forza 6 and Forza Horizon 3 and Now they’re making Crackdown 3 for Xbox one they clearly have a good relationship with MS for over 14 years now.
The third potential studio might be Platinum Games, and yes Microsoft did cancel Scalebound and they might still be a bit sour over that but they are a studio that is also struggling, they are a Japanese Company and Microsoft really needs to bolster its Japanese presence not to mention they own IP’s Specifically Bayonetta which is highly successful and well received.
One or 2 of these are the most likely candidates for acquisition, however Studio MDHR has also been rumoured to be in the pipeline to become a potential first party studio and then there’s Remedy Entertainment they have had a long history of collaborating with MS and their new title Control is their first Multiplatform console title to be released on Sony consoles since Max Payne 2 of 2003 Remedy is publicly listed on the nordiq stock exchange and that would be an easy way to get a foothold on the company, that would be considered hostile however.
The current lineup of MS studios are: (Source: Wikipedia)
- 343 Industries – Halo series
- inXile Entertainment – Wasteland series, The Bard's Tale series, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Hunted: The Demon's Forge, Super Stacker
- Microsoft Casual Games – Solitaire, Mahjong, Minesweeper, Wordament, Treasure Hunt.
- Obsidian Entertainment – Pillars of Eternity series, Tyranny
- The Initiative
- Turn 10 Studios – Forza Motorsport series
- Undead Labs – State of Decay series
- Mojang – Minecraft, Cobalt, Caller's Bane, Crown and Council
- Ninja Theory – Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
- Playground Games – Forza Horizon series
- Rare – Banjo-Kazooie series, Battletoads series, Viva Piñata series, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Kameo: Elements of Power, Conker series, Kinect Sports series, Perfect Dark series, Sea of Thieves.
Microsoft will most likely keep their cards close to their chest and will only make an announcement at E3 2019 (yes they will attend unlike Sony) or probably at the Scarlett console reveal.