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Phil Spencer says there is 'no signal' from Microsoft to slow down on studio acquisitions for Xbox

Xbox Game Studios
Xbox Game Studios (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has acquired several studios over the last two years.
  • In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Phil Spencer talked about the process of integrating these studios.
  • Spencer also stated that there's been "no signal" from Microsoft to slow down on acquiring additional studios.

Microsoft went on a buying spree in 2018 and 2019, acquiring Double Fine Productions, Obsidian Entertainment, Playground Games and many more, bringing its first-party game development arm to 15 distinct studios. Since then, the parent company of Xbox hasn't picked up any other studios but that doesn't mean it isn't looking.

In an excellent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Microsoft's executive vice president of gaming Phil Spencer, head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty and several studio heads talked about the nature of acquiring all these different teams and how they've kept their individuality while being integrated into Microsoft.

Spencer also explained that while the team has been accomadating all these new studios, making sure each one is "on-boarded" properly and providing the support that each needed, Microsoft hasn't asked Xbox to stop looking.

"We have really strong support from Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, and Amy Hood, the CFO. And there's been no signal at all that we should be slowing down, but just to go at a pace that is maintainable for us as a leadership team," Spencer explained. "We're always out there talking to people. But it has to be the right opportunity."

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Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.

19 Comments
  • Yes, they're probably not done acquiring studios, but I imagine that eventually there's going to be a culling where underperforming studios are shutdown.
  • I think it depends on if they use game pass as the main driving point. I know alot of people who have played games of other gore's because they are on gamepass and enjoyed them to. Sea of thieves and crackdown is an example of this. 2 games got OK receiws were never going to be big seller's but have a big user base due to them being on gamepass. It will be interesting to see how things play out as we know in the past developers have been dropped.
  • Keep on trucking! 👍
  • I'm happy for them to continue doing so. But keep to the morals they have so far. Well under Phil Spencer anyway. Studios which need financial help. Or studios that are up for sale.
  • Morals and business are mutually exclusive.
  • Not only that but while Sony fans are concerned with 1st party games being locked to Playstation, I doubt Microsoft feels the need. They can put their games on all platforms and make far more money while it still being an "xbox" umbrella studio. Just like surface duo having android and microsoft software being on all platforms. They aren't concerned with exclusive, they just want to have the best option and make the most money. I guarantee they will lol.
  • All platforms? Let me know when Halo comes on PS or Switch...
    They make far more money? Can you prove that statement or are you another one of those just making things up? LOL
  • You would have to be incredibly dense not to realise that opening a product up to more markets will result in a greater chance of revenue. Common sense will tell you that if you sell a product in two cities, instead of one city, you are likely going to make more money. You don't exactly need to be a genius to figure that out.
  • He's a delusional Sony worshiper. What do you expect.
  • @Sin Ogaris
    He is comparing two different companies with two different strategies.
    Do you understand that they don't just sell games but they are platform owners? Making games exclusives games for your console is to get people to their platform and game there. It's not just about selling a single game, it's about selling consoles, PS+ subscription, hardware and make get them buy more future games + DLCs... on their platform.
    That obviously brings in a lot more money than just me buying Ori for 30 bucks once a while on steam and totally ignore XB as a platform. I hope you get that, you'll need to be really dumb if you can't understand that. That's been Sony's strategy for years. We've seen PS's profits. People who claim MS's strategy will make MUCH more money than what's Sony is doing will need to show us the proof... Or at least show us when in history that strategy ever worked. Which console with ZERO exclusives was ever successful?
  • I think he was talking about xbox, pc, and xcloud. I believe Microsoft is looking to provide more ways to consume their content. Plenty of dollars to be made from those 3 divisions.
  • This is good to hear. I feel like they still need to add 2 more major studios.
  • I think one eastern European studio and 2 Japanese studios would round out the lineup well. But I don't want them to overdue it. They still need budget to bolster these studios. Yes, I know they are a giant corporation. But if they want incredible games, they need to focus on certain studios. Quality is almost always better than quantity. Even with gamepass.
  • More than buying studios left and right, is what is going to come out from these studios. For me that's the biggest question. It's not just about spending money to buy studios and IPs, it's about spending more money after that to help the studios grow, give creative freedom and help them produce quality games. There are some who will celebrate when MS buys a new studio. I really don't care about that. I celebrate quality games. That's my priority.
    So far we're yet to see anything from all these news studios. Right now, I'll just wait and see.
  • Well, we saw Bleeding Edge. But that was in production before Microsoft bought them.
  • @Copiondor
    Yes, we've seen Bleeding Edge. One of the worst rated game in Ninja Theory's history. One which is totally different from whatever they made in the past.
    They say it was in production before MS's acquisition so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. I don't think we can really say that's MS's doing even though they probably had some saying in it.
  • Well we have seen already how much Playground have grown, Compsion Games has increased its staff, same with Ninja Theory, Inexile, Obsidian and Double Fine. Alot of developers have joined all MS owned studios in the last 2 years. The Initiative has some of the best names in the industry over there as well. So far they have invested a ton in their owned studios under Phil. So it's looking really great based on the last. 2 years.
  • As long as they bring diversity, not just the same old games. I don't have to have triple A, I need all genres covered.
  • Adding more studios to XBox will be key to the success of GamePass. If Microsoft wants to build a Netflix for gaming they need to continue to expand their portfolio. Netflix started with no content of their own. They've quickly expanded and have added studios to provide content only available on Netflix. WB is a strange situation as some of their IP will not be for sale (Batman, Harry Potter, LEGO). At a minimum XB should ask for exlusivity for an extended period of time if they cannot purchase the IP outright. I see the WB purchase as a must have for MS. If Amazon or Google snags them up, it would be a shift in the mindshare of gaming.