Xbox boss Phil Spencer: Microsoft still looking into studio acquisitions, interested in Asia

Xbox Game Studios

In a newly published interview by Eurogamer, head of Xbox Phil Spencer confirms that Microsoft is not done acquiring new studios, and that it is especially interested in adding an Asian studio to its family of studios.

Xbox Game Studios currently consists of 15 studios, including Xbox Game Studios Publishing, Turn 10 Studios, 343 Industries, The Coalition, The Initiative, World’s Edge, Rare, Mojang, Ninja Theory, inXile Entertainment, Obsidian Entertainment, Compulsion Games, Undead Labs, Playground Games, and Double Fine. The latter seven studios were all acquired by Microsoft in 2018, except Double Fine which was acquired in 2019.

Here is the interview snippet:

You have 15 studios now. You’ve been on an impressive acquisition spree. Are you done now?

Phil Spencer: “No!

“I do think we can sometimes get a little infatuated with putting a bunch of studio logos on a slide and that becomes the news. They’re not trading cards. They’re studios. And we want them to build great games. I love the fact we’re here announcing three new IP, two from our internal studios. As I look forward, there’s not a show I can look at where we’re not gonna be announcing new games, just because of the breadth of studios we have. It’s not really some kind of PR battle about how many new acquisitions we can put on stage. Because if we’re not building great games, the acquisitions don’t matter.

“But are we done? I don’t think so.”

You’re still on the hunt then?

Phil Spencer: “Yeah. There are great creators out there. Our business continues to grow. The company is incredibly supportive of what we’re trying to build. Microsoft talks about gaming as a key pillar of its consumer interest and its strategy. We’re getting a tonne of support from Satya Nadella, Amy Hood, and the board. And we’re running a good business today, so we’ve earned the right to continue to look.”

What are you looking for?

Phil Spencer: “I look at the geographic diversity of our studios. I love the fact we now have three studios here in the UK. You can go back decades… you could argue the U.K. is as strong as any country in terms of its impact on the history of video games. I love that we’re here in such strength. Now we have studios in Canada, studios in other parts of the U.S., I think we have a hole in Asia. I’ve said that both to [Xbox Game Studios head] Matt [Booty] and publicly. I would love to have more of an influence in our own first-party team from Asian creators. There’s nothing that’s imminent, so it’s not a pre-announce of something. But if you just plotted where we are on the map with our first-party, that’s a real opportunity for us.

“I love the fact we can stand here and announce Yakuza and Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy coming. That’s through third-party relationships, which take time. And we’ve been really focused on that. But I think we could have stronger first-party creation capability there. We have in the past and I think we should again.”


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