Microsoft is more focused on finding “creative independent teams”, says Spencer.
Earlier this year, there was speculation floating around the internet that Microsoft was looking to acquire some major third party publishers. Of the handful of big names that were being mentioned, EA was the one that stood out the most, and also the one that was most heavily featured in the rumours.
As it turned out, there wasn’t much truth to those reports. Microsoft did end up going on an acquisition spree, but it was very different in nature, with them instead choosing to tap up smaller, independent studios. At E3, they announced five acquisitions, which included the likes of Playground Games and Ninja Theory, while just last month, Obsidian Entertainment and inXile also joined their ranks.
Those names are in stark contrast to EA, a veritable global conglomerate, and according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer, that is very much part of Microsoft’s strategy. Speaking at the Barclays 2018 Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference, Spencer addressed earlier reports about Microsoft looking to acquire EA, and went into some detail about why that wasn’t part of the company’s strategy.
“If you watch the studio acquisitions we’ve done, we’re focused on creative teams that we think can build very interesting content to help the flywheel Game Pass grow and our platforms grow,” Spencer said. “We’re probably less interested in management teams and infrastructure and things that we already have inside of our organization. And you can just look at the track record. We’ve added seven studios in six months, and if you look at them, I think you’ll see certain evaluations.
“But more importantly, the creative teams that we’re picking up, [we’re doing it] knowing that we can then plug them into a Microsoft infrastructure, an Xbox infrastructure to help those teams succeed, with more solid funding, alignment towards goals around Game Pass, reaching gamers everywhere,” he continued. “And we don’t have to pay for some of the things that some of the bigger publishers have, that we probably already have under our roof.”
“So yeah,” he said. “Our focus hasn’t been on going out and adding duplicative functions that we’d be paying for that I don’t think we need, but more on how we can find the creative independent teams out there. And I feel really good about the path that we’re on right now.”
As far as acquisitions are concerned, even with seven new additions to their first party roster in a very short space of time, it doesn’t look like Microsoft is quite done. According to recent reports, there’s more news to come from them in 2019, and apparently, one of the studios they’re in talks with has historically worked with PlayStation in the past. Read more on that through here.