Microsoft Buys Four Independent Studios

Microsoft announced it’s acquired four new game studios at its press conference today in an effort to increase the the number of exclusive first-party games it can deliver to Xbox One owners.

The studios in question are Undead Labs, makers of State of Decay 2, Playground Games, who already makes Microsoft’s Forza Horizon series, Compulsion, the studio behind the upcoming dystopia We Happy Few, and Ninja Theory, the studio behind the great psychological horror fantasy game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. In addition, Microsoft also announced that it’s formed a new game studio called The Initiative led by former Crystal Dynamics head Darrell Gallagher, who was their when it rebooted Tomb Raider in 2013.

That brings Microsoft’s total count of first-party development studios up to 10. The existing major studios were Mojang, makers of Minecraft, and Rare, which recently put out Sea of Thieves, along with 343 Industries who currently makes Halo and The Coalition which works on Gears of War, Turn 10 Studios, makers of the main Forza series. The head of Xbox who made the announcement on stage at the press conference today, Phil Spencer, had said in an interview Bloomberg last year that developing new games internally would be an increasing priority going forward.

“The original games we create at Microsoft Studios are some of our biggest assets,” Matt Booty, VP of Microsoft Studios, said in a press release today. “We believe these teams have the collective creative power and operational excellence to deliver the next industry game changers.”

Outside of games like Cuphead and the console version of PUBG, Microsoft hasn’t had many exclusive games to offer its audience in recent years, which has been especially noticeable as Sony releases games like Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War year after year. While the company was expected to announce a number of new exclusives at E3, including today’s news about a new Halo game called Halo Infinity, the news of the acquisitions show Microsoft is building up for a better round of first-party games by the time the next Xbox launches, whenever that is.