Since E3 2018, Microsoft has managed to acquire a staggering seven studios to produce games exclusively for Microsoft platforms in the future. The most recent of which have been the team of RPG veterans Obsidian and Double Fine, a team who have consistently released cult classics since their inception 19 years ago. Microsoft is already in a good place with its lineup of studios, but Xbox head Phil Spencer stated in a recent Eurogamer interview that he’s interested in picking up even more studios.
When asked about exactly what kind of studio’s he’s currently looking for, Spencer responded stating:
I look at the geographic diversity of our studios. I love the fact we now have three studios here in the UK. You can go back decades... you could argue the UK is as strong as any country in terms of its impact on the history of video games. I love that we're here in such strength. Now we have studios in Canada, studios in other parts of the US. I think we have a hole in Asia. I've said that both to Matt and publicly. I would love to have more of an influence in our own first-party team from Asian creators.
Before giving anyone the chance to get too excited, Spencer quickly follows up that statement by clarifying
There's nothing that's imminent, so it's not a pre-announce of something. But if you just plotted where we are on the map with our first-party, that's a real opportunity for us.
It’s been no secret that Xbox systems have always been a distant third to Nintendo and Sony’s hardware releases in Japan, so it’s not surprising that there would be an interest in building capital in Eastern markets with some exclusive studios. There have already been hints of this interest in Asian studios, with this year’s Devil May Cry 5 often being tied to Xbox in its marketing, and franchises such as Yakuza and Final Fantasy joining Game Pass next year.
To reiterate Phil Spencer’s statement, there’s nothing concrete just yet, but don’t be surprised if we see an Asian studio (or several) becoming a Microsoft exclusive studio in the coming years.