It’s no secret that Microsoft has been struggling to keep up with Sony and Nintendo in this current generation of consoles, in a large part due to the dearth of exclusives on the Xbox One in comparison to the PS4 and the Switch. It’s clearly an issue that Microsoft is looking to rectify, with head of Xbox Phil Spencer announcing during the Microsoft E3 conference that the company has acquired 5 game studios to work on first-party games for them.
Spencer stated that Microsoft has been “[embarking] on a quest…to find creative teams that have the mastery of our art form“, before announcing the 5 developers that will now be creating games exclusively for Microsoft.
The first is a brand new studio called The Initiative. Based in Santa Monica, the Initiative will be led by Darrell Gallagher, the former head of Crystal Dynamics who was responsible for the latest, gritty Tomb Raider reboot.
The other 4 were acquisitions of existing studios: Undead Labs (State of Decay) and Playground Games (Forza Horizon) didn’t come as a surprise, as both developers are already responsible for Microsoft exclusive games. More interesting was the acquisition of Compulsion Games (creators of the controversial We Happy Few, which was recently denied a rating in Australia) and Ninja Theory, responsible for last year’s critically acclaimed Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
Apart from Spencer revealing that Playground Games is “bringing their open world expertise to a new project”, there wasn’t much information on what each developer is currently working on. No doubt we’ll hear more in the next few months though.
Acquiring 5 new studios is a huge move by Microsoft, and it’ll be interesting to see what Xbox exclusives will come out of these acquisitions in the next few years – and whether or not they’ll be enough to make the Xbox competitive with their video games again.