In its annual statement filed to the United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) for the year ending June 30, 2020, Microsoft has hinted that it’s in the market to buy more game developers. In its filing, the company stated:
Our exclusive game content is created through Xbox Game Studios, a collection of first-party studios creating iconic and differentiated gaming experiences. We continue to invest in new gaming studios and content to expand our IP roadmap and leverage new content creators.
What Microsoft plans to do with these game developers is also featured in the statement. The company calls the Xbox Game Studios teams a “cornerstone” of its Xbox Game Pass subscription service. It does not speak about selling consoles in this part of the statement.
With Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft and the Xbox team are making a massive play for recurring revenue. This is why Microsoft purchased developers like Obsidian Entertainment.
Obsidian, which is working on big fantasy RPG Avowed, is famous for these large RPG titles. These kinds of games, which can take hundreds of hours to complete, are what can keep people subscribed to Xbox Game Pass.
Video: Here are some of the best Xbox Game Pass games.
Microsoft also owns RPG developer inXile Entertainment while Playground Games is developing fantasy RPG Fable. 343 Industries also has years of plans for Halo Infinite, though this game has just been delayed to 2021.
Smart business logic would have Microsoft buy a Japanese developer next. The Xbox brand has typically struggled in the region, and services like Xbox Game Pass could do well in Japan.
Japan’s console sales may not be so strong, but Xbox Game Pass, which will allow users to stream console games to a smartphone starting September, could become a huge success.
If Microsoft wants to buy more RPG developers, the name CD Projekt RED springs to mind.
The independent development team behind The Witcher series has worked with Microsoft before. The two companies created the Cyberpunk 2077 Xbox One X, which has been hugely popular. It’s unclear why CD Projekt RED would feel the need to sell, but it would be a brilliant buy.
There are also rumors that Microsoft is thinking about buying Warner Bros. Interactive, which publishes the Harry Potter games and the Middle-earth game series. Microsoft would have to compete against EA over Warner Bros., but the Xbox owner would likely be able to place a higher bid.