Microsoft‘s recent spree of studio acquisitions indicates the company is planning wisely for its next generation of console hardware. Though Double Fine, Inxile, Obsidian, Playground Games, Compulsion Games, and Ninja Theory cater to a wide variety of genres, there’s room for more diversity among the Xbox Game Studios lineup. The following are a few developers that should be on the publisher’s shortlist moving forward.
Studios That Microsoft Should Buy Next | Bungie
Bungie, the developer behind the original Halo trilogy and the Destiny series, broke away from Microsoft’s first-party studio lineup in 2007. It signed a 10-year deal with Activision in 2010, but that partnership ended this past January. Now that the developer isn’t affiliated with a major publisher, Microsoft could swoop in and agree to fund and publish the next iteration in the Destiny franchise so long as it’s exclusive to Xbox and PC platforms. Although that would likely piss off the large PS4 community the game has.
Better yet, the company could convince Bungie to incorporate what it learned from its shared-world multiplayer series and apply it toward a new Halo entry. Though fans speculate that the developer’s split form Microsoft a decade ago wasn’t exactly amicable, enough time has passed to renegotiate.
Studios That Microsoft Should Buy Next | Studio MDHR
It would make a lot of sense for Microsoft to buy out Studio MDHR soon, considering how Cuphead sold a million copies less than a month after its release on Xbox One and PC and 3 million as of August 2018. Outside of sales, Cuphead 2‘s exclusivity could help dispel the popular belief that the company’s catalog is oversaturated with adult-oriented franchises. The eponymous character and his pal Mugman could serve as excellent mascots should Microsoft be willing to invest in the developer that created them.
Studios That Microsoft Should Buy Next | IO Interactive
The Xbox brand needs more single-player, narrative-driven software in its exclusive library. IO Interactive and its popular Hitman franchise could remedy this deficit, considering how the developer split with publisher Square Enix in 2017. And with that split, comes a bit of uncertainty developers probably don’t want to deal with.
If player counts serve any indication, Hitman‘s inclusion of single-player and multiplayer components has already appealed to a lot of Xbox and PC users. Aside from that, it’s nice to imagine how nicely Agent 47 would fit in with the likes of Master Chief and Marcus Fenix.
Studios That Microsoft Should Buy Next | Playful Studios
Playful Studios may not be the most recognizable studio out there, but its work on Xbox One exclusive Super Lucky’s Tale proves it could bolster Xbox Game Studios’ kid appeal. As in the case with Studio MDHR, a buyout of Playful could help the Xbox brand balance out its current shooter roster. Lucky is an adorable little guy with potential to be Xbox’s version of Sackboy so long as Microsoft is willing to give him another go.
Studios That Microsoft Should Buy Next | Creative Assembly
Creative Assembly’s versatility could bring enormous strength to Xbox’s first-party lineup, considering how the studio has developed strategy, sports, horror, and action adventure games throughout its 32-year history. Its acquisition by Microsoft could help ensure Halo Wars‘ continuation, though the publisher should be careful not to interfere with the esteemed Total War franchise. Buying the studio from parent company Sega may be expensive, but it’s the right move to make if Microsoft wants to gain more influence in the PC space.
Studios That Microsoft Should Buy Next | From Software
Microsoft’s acquisition of From Software could help the Xbox brand appeal to Japanese audiences, as it’s struggled in the Land of the Rising Sun for some time now. Moreover, the deal could be a devastating blow to competitor Sony, as the publisher has a long history with the developer and hired it to work on PlayStation 4’s critically acclaimed exclusive Bloodborne not too long ago.
It’s safe to assume RPG fans all the world would quickly purchase the next Xbox should further From Software experiences be exclusive to the platform. The company does have a history of appearing at Microsoft’s press conferences, so a buyout isn’t completely out of the question. It may be costly considering the developer’s pedigree, but the benefits that From Software could bring to Xbox Game Studios are incalculable.
Studios That Microsoft Should Buy Next | Moon Studios
Moon Studios is best known for its work on beloved Metroidvania Ori and the Blind Forest. Though Microsoft owns the IP, it would be wise for the publisher to buy out the developer before it decides to release its next series on PlayStation 4 and Switch. If the first game isn’t enough to go by, early impressions of Will of the Wisps indicate that the sequel is on track to be just as memorable as its predecessor.
Studios That Microsoft Should Buy Next | Remedy Entertainment
Another single-player game developer that Microsoft should pursue is Remedy Entertainment. Responsible for the likes of two well-received Xbox console exclusives, the company has since moved on with a different publisher and plans to release Control on competing platforms. Microsoft may be able to win Remedy back with the promise that it’ll fund development on the long-awaited sequel to Alan Wake, the likes of which was scrapped a few years ago.
The head of Xbox Game Studios recently stated in an interview that although the pace of acquiring developers isn’t defined by a schedule, Microsoft could purchase two new studios in as a little as two months if the right opportunities present themselves. Acquiring any of the developers above should help the company’s platform further diversify itself in the marketplace, especially as Google’s Stadia arrives on the scene. It goes without saying that competition is a great source of motivation even if Microsoft has adopted a more console-agnostic approach as of late.