Xbox “absolutely” has to invest in more studios, Phil Spencer says

Xbox’s announcement that it is acquiring ZeniMax Media is far from the last studio acquisition that it’s going to make, according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer.

“In terms of continuing to invest in new studios and new games and new content, absolutely we have to do that,” Spencer said during the opening address of Twitch’s Glitchcon (via GameSpot). “It’s important that we continue to build out the library of games that are available on Xbox.”

Microsoft’s biggest acquisition prior to announcing its $7.5 billion ZeniMax deal was Minecraft maker Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014, but between then Microsoft acquired several notable studios, such as Obsidian Entertainment, inXile Entertainment, Playground Games, Undead Labs and Ninja Theory in 2018, and Double Fine in 2019.

This was in addition to Rare, which it acquired all the way back in 2002, as well as its first-party studios, 343 Industries and The Coalition. Likewise in 2018, Xbox also announced the launch of a premiere first-party studio called The Initiative, all of which now fall under the Xbox Game Studios publishing brand.

Xbox is expecting to finalize the ZeniMax deal in early 2021. “Coming together now and having them become part of Xbox I think will just be an amazing opportunity with the great games that they’ll continue to build,” Spencer said during Glitchcon.

As for future acquisitions, previous reports suggest that several Japanese developers have approached Microsoft about acquiring their studios, while Xbox is looking to expand its presence over there for the first time in a generation. We don’t think Dark Souls and Bloodborne developer FromSoftware is one of those studios, though Spencer and studio head Hidetaka Miyazaki seem to have a good professional relationship.

Microsoft putting down a ton of money for major studio acquisitions shows how far its come in regards to how it perceives the console gaming market, especially considering it was on the verge of getting out of the game after the Xbox One’s disappointing sales performance.

Of course, the main driver for these studio acquisitions is Xbox Game Pass, which gets first-party studios the day they launch. While the Series X and S’s launch exclusives are pretty much zilch at the moment, the Game Pass library (which now includes EA Play for Ultimate subscribers) and Xbox’s comprehensive backwards compatibility program have given Microsoft some leeway in the early days of this new console generation.

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