Microsoft lost considerable ground during this console generation for a number of reasons, but you can’t deny that Xbox’s weak roster of exclusives is largely to blame. The console holder looks keen to get that sorted, though, and is approaching it in a very Microsoftian way, which is to throw big piles of cash at the problem.
The result of this latest spending spree is that Microsoft has added five developers to the Microsoft Studios stable, substantially bolstering the Xbox first-party lineup. Xbox boss Phil Spencer made the announcement during Microsoft’s E3 briefing, revealing that studios Ninja Theory, Playground Games, Undead Labs, and Compulsion Games have been bought, and a brand new studio, The Initiative, has been created in Santa Monica, headed by former Crystal Dynamics studio head, Darrell Gallagher.
Undead Labs and Playground Games shouldn’t be all that surprising, as both studios are already well known for their work on high profile Xbox exclusives. Ninja Theory is surprising though, and the fact that the team behind the brilliant Hellblade is now a Microsoft first-party developer should bode well for the Xbox brand. Compulsion Games is also an interesting purchase, especially since the studio’s upcoming We Happy Few was scheduled to be a muti-platform affair, so we’ll have to see if a PS4 version sees the light of day.
More than anything, these new additions to the Xbox arsenal show that Microsoft is serious about innovation in first-party development, and not just relying on veteran franchises like Halo and Gears of War to keep gamers interested.