This has been quite a good year for Xbox so far, and Microsoft has talked about some of their plans for the future of the console and gaming, while Xbox head Phil Spencer has also spoken about the growing importance of Xbox to Microsoft. As we enter the fourth quarter of the year, Xbox’s GM of Marketing Aaron Greenberg discussed the company’s acquisitions of various studios ,which they had first announced at E3.
Greenberg talked to MCVUK about how the company was really serious in wanting to invest more into first-party studios, and this is what led to the acquisitions. He stated,”If you think about the teams we acquired, these folks are best in class, they make really high-quality games, but the games they make are very different to our existing franchises. Of course Playground is making Horizon, but they’re also going to have a second team making something entirely different. We have a centre of excellence in the UK, we have Rare, we now have Ninja Theory and Playground, and those teams can work together to share tech and infrastructure, that has a lot of benefits.”
In fact, it was a deliberate decision to focus on studios in the UK, since the government there has been “very supportive of the games industry.” Greenberg also went on to emphasize that these studios will remain creatively independent, while Microsoft is able to provide financial security and the required technology. He said, “This was first and foremost about finding the world’s greatest teams, who can bring new types of content to our first-party studios, and allow them to continue to operate independently. If you think about a game like Hellblade, how many big companies would have greenlit a game like that? But it’s brilliant and it addresses a lot of important issues. Those are the types of teams that really inspire us and it’s a privilege to be able to work with them. For them to become part of our team provides financial security, access to resources and tech capabilities, and still the creative independence to go and do what they want to do. These teams they would have never wanted to partner and work with us if that wasn’t part of the conditions. I think we have a good track record of doing that: look at Mojang, which has stayed independent and stayed focused.”
Overall, the past few months have been great for Microsoft and Xbox, and it looks like they are interested in continuing to invest more in first-party studios at some point. Greenberg stated, “It’s an exciting time, we’ve essentially doubled our creative studios overnight, and it just shows that commitment to invest more.” Let’s just hope for some good output in the not-so-distant future.