Xbox At E3: Microsoft Wants To Buy A Japanese Game Studio
"We have a small team there but I think we can do more."
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At E3 2019, Microsoft announced that it acquired Brutal Legend developer Double Fine and created a brand-new Age of Empires studio, bringing the company's total in-house development studios to 15. The company may not be finished buying studios yet, however. Xbox boss Phil Spencer told GI.biz that Microsoft is looking to buy a studio from Asia to increase its footprint in the area where Xbox has historically struggled to get a foothold.
"I think it would be nice if we found an Asian studio, in particular a Japanese studio, to add [to our studios]," Spencer explained. "I liked it when we had some first-party capability in Japan. We have a small team there, but I think we can do more. That said, through our trips to Japan, I love having Phantasy Star back on our stage with Sega--thought that was fantastic. Miyazaki-San, before with Dark Souls and now having Elden Ring on our stage... the Japanese creators have shown up more and more."
Spencer didn't mention any specific acquisition targets, but fans will now no doubt speculate as to which studio may seek to scoop up in the future.
Spencer went on to speak a high level about Microsoft's thinking behind buying up and creating new studios. It's all about giving Microsoft the opportunity to create new games, exclusive to its platforms, that span a variety of different genres.
All of Microsoft's first-party games will launch into the Xbox Game Pass catalog, and this will--in theory at least--make the subscription offering more and more attractive over time. That's important because, as Spencer says, the money in gaming is in software and services, not selling consoles.
"Just like in video, just like in music, there isn't one song that everybody loves. There isn't one movie, or even a genre that everybody loves. So with Game Pass, we think about millions of different players and the different kind of games they will play. That diversity is really important," he said.
Also in the interview, Spencer said the Xbox division of Microsoft has the backing and support of the wider company. CEO Satya Nadella and CFO Amy Hood, along with Microsoft's board of directors, see gaming as an "important growth category," Spencer said. As such, Spencer said fans can expect Microsoft to continue to invest in content and teams over the years, though he said he doesn't expect to have a big year like in 2018 where Microsoft acquired or created seven new studios.
Xbox Game Studios Developers
As of June 2019
- 343 Industries
- The Coalition
- Compulsion Games
- Double Fine
- Microsoft Studios Global Publishing
- The Initiative
- Ninja Theory
- Playground Games
- Turn 10 Studios
- Undead Labs
- Age of Empires
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