Xbox boss Phil Spencer doesn’t believe Microsoft is planning on buying out Japanese studios, shooting down any recent rumors to the contrary.
Despite Microsoft’s drive to acquire more game developers, Xbox boss Phil Spencer says rumors of the company parenting Japanese studios may be false. As the Xbox conglomerate works to increase its presence around the globe nationally and internationally, the company revealed at X019 that it would be working closely with Japanese studios to bring more games to the western-based console. As a result, multiple titles from the Final Fantasy and Yakuza franchises came to Xbox Game Pass, with talks of further partnerships going forward, thereby increasing the brand’s presence in Japan – showcased by the Xbox Series X|S selling out instantly overseas.
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One of the biggest moves made by Microsoft and Xbox in 2020 was the acquisition of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout developer, Bethesda. While the acquisition does not become official until 2021, Bethesda’s founder discussed how the buyout was a “brilliant” move by Microsoft to compete with PlayStation. Since 2018, Xbox’s parent company has been pushing harder to become more competitive in the first-party exclusive sphere, acquiring companies such as Obsidian (Fallout: New Vegas and Grounded) and Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice).
As the next console generation releases, Xbox boss Phil Spencer suggests claims, in an interview with GameSpot, that word of Microsoft looking to acquire Japanese studios may be false. When asked if there was any truth to the Xbox parent company purchasing several Japanese-based developers, Spencer replied that he does not think so. The head of Xbox clarified that he was not a part of every single meeting “that every team has, but [he’ll] say not from [him].” Spencer indicates he is “excited when the deal closes to get to spend more time with [GameWorks] and the work that they’re doing. So, it’s an area that [he is] interested in,” but the Xbox boss does not believe Microsoft looking to acquire Japanese developers is accurate.
One of Xbox’s biggest flaws was the exclusion of first-party, exclusive content during the Xbox One generation. Addressing that pitfall head-on with the new Xbox Series X|S has been a seemingly beneficial tactic by Microsoft. Extending that approach to acquiring Japanese studios – directly in the territory of Sony’s PlayStation 5, Xbox’s primary competitor – would be a bold move by the Xbox brand. PlayStation has dominated Microsoft in the gaming industry since the inception of the first Xbox in 2001, and not just because Sony has been in the market longer.
Sony has excelled at marketing its behemoth of a gaming division, especially during the PlayStation 4 generation, with almost every game advertised on TV and the internet being accompanied by the PlayStation logo and telltale sound. This does not even consider the bonus content PlayStation users often get first, such as the special operations mode in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. However, if Microsoft can step up its game in Sony’s back yard – on top of recovering ground in its own territory – by acquiring Japanese studios, the Xbox parent company will be in a solid competitive position going forward.
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