“We continue to invest in new gaming studios and content to expand our IP roadmap and leverage new content creators,” the document reads.
“These unique gaming experiences are the cornerstone of Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service and gaming community with access to a curated library of over 100 first- and third-party console and PC titles.”
Over the past two years Xbox has aggressively grown its portfolio of first-party studios ahead of the release of Xbox Series X in November 2020.
However, the corporation’s spending spree will likely have been equally motivated by its ambitions for Xbox Game Pass, the subscription service which is available on all Xbox consoles as well as PC. As of March 31, Game Pass subscribers topped 10 million.
As well as setting up The Initiative and a new Age of Empires studio, Xbox acquired Ninja Theory (Hellblade), Playground Games (Forza Horizon), Obsidian (Fallout: New Vegas), InXile (Wasteland 3) and Double Fine (Psychonauts).
“We acquired quite a few new studios in a short amount of time, and we want to make sure that those studios are on-boarded in the right way,” Spencer told GamesIndustry.biz in June. “As Matt and I were talking about it, we just wanted to make sure that we treated the incoming studios as full parts of the organisation. That they felt supported.
“The Game Pass portfolio and subscriber base continues to grow. We’re launching a new console. Last year was our biggest year ever on PC in terms of revenue as Xbox Game Studios. A lot of the business is doing really well, so we’re always in the market for new opportunities with studios.
“The first priority was making sure the studios had the things that they needed to build the best versions of their games,” Spencer continued. “That means extending some of the timelines, and giving them more budgets.
“We have really strong support from Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, and Amy Hood, the CFO. And there’s been no signal at all that we should be slowing down, but just to go at a pace that is maintainable for us as a leadership team. We’re always out there talking to people. But it has to be the right opportunity.”
Spencer expressed a desire to acquire an Asian game developer, “in particular a Japanese studio”, on multiple occasions in 2019.
And last month it was claimed that Microsoft was interested in acquiring Warner Bros. Interactive, the games division behind Mortal Kombat and Batman: Arkham Knight. However, it seems the division could be staying put.