5 studios and publishers Microsoft could buy next and why
Microsoft made gaming history earlier this week with its unexpected acquisition of Bethesda, bringing one of the world’s biggest publishers into the Xbox family alongside all of its franchises and studios. It’s a massive shift in the landscape, and arguably changes how we will approach the next generation of consoles.
Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox Game Pass are now far more tempting in the grand scheme of things, with relative certainty that Elder Scrolls 6, Starfield and other major titles could be exclusive to Microsoft’s platforms. The company has also said it isn’t afraid to make further acquisitions to boost its portfolio of creators, leading us to question what realistic and outlandish assumptions we could make.
So we’ve compiled five acquisitions Microsoft could make in the future, and the impact they could have on the wider industry if such deals were to go ahead. Some are farfetched pipedreams, while others exist firmly within the realm of possibility.
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1 – Kojima Productions
Xbox boss Phil Spencer has frequently expessed his want to acquire a Japanese developer, which has become a reality with Bethesda’s Tango Gameworks, but we wouldn’t be too surprised if he went one step further and scooped up Kojima Productions.
Formed a number of years ago by Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, the studio has since released a single title in the form of Death Stranding. It was a strange and wonderful masterpiece, and having such a developer in its stable would lend Microsoft’s exclusive library a much-needed dose of creativity.
Kojima Productions would also benefit from the resources provided by a partner like Microsoft, having recently depended on Sony and 505 Games as publishing partners for its debut effort. If the studio is working on the rumoured horror game Kojima keeps talking about on Twitter, and hope its next project is as good as can be.
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2 – SEGA
This one is very far-fetched, despite what the conspiracy theories circling on social media might tell you. That being said, if you told me last week that Microsoft was going to acquire Bethesda I would have laughed you out of the room, so anything can happen. SEGA would be an incredible beneficial member of the Xbox family, too.
Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon is acting as a flagship launch title for Xbox Series X, which is a huge departure for a franchise which has been a PlayStation mainstay since its inception. This is a huge mark of confidence from the company in Microsoft as a company that can dedicate resources to major Japanese franchises despite the Xbox brand being supremely over there.
SEGA also has a massive library on intellectual property for Microsoft to take advantage of, expanding a portfolio that for years has been dominated by the likes of Gears, Forza and Halo. We’d love to see some classics make a comeback too if a deal like this ever comes to fruition. But as we said earlier, this is a little bit of a pipedream.
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3 – Hello Games
This is a more realistic proposition, with the No Man Sky developer going from strength to strength as its biggest project has evolved into something truly special since its initial release. The stream of major content updates for No Man’s Sky also blends perfectly with the philosophy behind Xbox Game Pass.
Members of the service could treat No Man’s Sky as a world they frequently visit both alone and with friends, building a virtual reputation as they explore different galaxies and make their mark on the universe. A studio like this would exist perfectly alongside Microsoft, and additional resources could help its creative ideas shine even more.
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4 – CD Projekt Red
Ever since the creation of The Witcher, CD Projekt Red has been intrinsically linked with PC development, with players taking to each new adventure with rampant enthusiasm as they develop mods and build upon the masterpieces this Polish studio has produced.
With Cyberpunk 2077 on the horizon, it is set to break boundaries once again with a gorgeously sprawling RPG that will shine on current consoles, next-gen platforms and beyond. Microsoft’s renewed commitment to PC gaming puts them in a good position to build CD Projekt Red into something even bigger, as they are undoubtedly the industry’s flagship RPG studio now without new ownership.
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5 – Warner Bros Interactive
While it recently expressed it doesn’t want to part with its gaming division, Warner Bros Interactive would be an amazing catch for Microsoft if circumstances ever changed. Not only are they working on Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice, the publisher is also home to a number of top-tier developers such as Rocksteady and Traveller’s Tales.
That’s without mentioning licenses like LEGO and The Lord of the Rings which continue to produce games which currently occupy a number of major platforms, and with more entries in the works at the time of writing. Much like SEGA, this is a rather far-fetched acquisition, but if it ever happened, would add a level of variety to the Xbox brand that would be huge for western audiences.