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Microsoft looks at acquiring more studios to boost its first-party games output

Nintendo is built upon first-party software, and it's fair to say that much of Sony's success with the PlayStation has come from the same place. Microsoft did pretty well for itself with the Xbox 360, too. But the Xbox One? Not so much. That may change in the near future, however. Xbox boss Phil Spencer told Bloomberg that's a shortcoming the company hopes to change with increased investment in in-house game development, a process that could include launching new development studios, or acquiring some that are already out there. 

"We need to grow, and I look forward to doing that," Spencer said. "Our ability to go create content has to be one of our strengths. We haven’t always invested at the same level. We’ve gone through ups and downs in the investment." 

This is relevant to us because Xbox isn't just a console, it's an "ecosystem," as Spencer put it a couple of years ago when Microsoft took part in the PC Gaming Show, and that includes the PC. That means first-party Xbox games are at least reasonably likely to end up on the PC as well, and presumably (or at least hopefully) without any kind of extended wait.   

It goes without saying (although I'm going to say it anyway) that successful studios acquired by major publishers sometimes don't fare well in the long run, and it's interesting that the pledge to reinvest in at-home game development comes not much more than a year after Microsoft shut down Lionhead, one of its highest-profile studios. But Mojang, Turn 10, and 343 all seem to be doing fairly well for themselves, although each of them only represents one game or series—Minecraft, Forza, and Halo, respectively—which isn't nearly enough to put Microsoft on equal footing with Sony or Nintendo.

The Bloomberg report also said that Microsoft is increasing its focus on game sales, subscriptions, and "related services," rather than simply console unit sales, and is "looking at opportunities" in areas including Xbox Live subscriptions, esports, and streaming. 

Andy Chalk
Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.