Looking ahead: With their E3 showcase just around the corner, rumors are circulating that Microsoft has won five more game developers to its Xbox Game Studios franchise, giving them a growing list of first-party outputs they can use for their Game Pass-focused strategy this console can use generation.
Microsoft made waves last year with the purchase of ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, and brought its collection of game IP and development teams to the Xbox Game Studios brand. It was a dramatic move aimed at bolstering the range of exclusive first-party suppliers that the Xbox Series X | S will have in the future, an area where Xbox lost big time to Sony’s last-gen PlayStation.
Now Microsoft is to bring another five studios into the house. Colteastwood of the Xbox News Cast podcast cryptically stated Thursday that “26 is the new 23” before adding a day later that “28 is better” – apparently in terms of the number of studios under the Xbox umbrella work. While reporter Jeff Grubb increased speculation by claiming to have mentioned IO Interactive, Avalanche and Crytek in relation to the acquisitions, NetherRealm and Rocksteady were mentioned afterwards.
Best known for the Hitman series, IO Interactive was part of Square Enix until they became independent through a management buyout in mid-2017. Avalanche, currently owned by Nordisk Film, has Mad Max and the Just Cause series under his belt, and worked on Rage 2 with id Software.
Crytek put themselves on the map with the first Far Cry title and of course the Crysis trilogy, while NetherRealm and Rocksteady had success with the IP of DC Comics and produced the games Injustice and Batman Arkham respectively.
Microsoft’s strategy for the current generation is heavily focused on Game Pass, quickly accessing third-party games like Outriders, and aiming to cover consoles, PCs, and even TVs via xCloud game streaming.
The ZeniMax acquisition also brought a sizable back catalog to Game Pass, with big names like The Elder Scrolls, Dishonored, and the DOOM reboots quickly making their way onto the playlist.
But if more developers are working under the Xbox Game Studios umbrella, it means there will be more exclusives in the future, and Microsoft’s promise to bring them to Game Pass as soon as it’s released makes the subscription for gamers who just aren’t upset (or the wallet!) for waves of $ 70 new releases.