- Tweet reveals Xbox head, Phil Spencer, is in Japan.
- Spencer talking with developers and publishers.
- Xbox has made no secret of its desire to expand its reach in Asia.
Xbox head Phil Spencer has made no secret of his desire to bolster the ranks of the Xbox Game Studios roster with Asian studios. According to a new tweet, Spencer is currently in Japan, seemingly scouting potential targets for the next addition in Xbox’s acquisition spree.
Phil Spencer is Back In Japan
Great to be back in Japan with the team talking and listening to amazing studios and publishers about 2020 and beyond. Really strong energy and excitement here about gaming’s future.
While it’s unclear whether Spencer is there fostering third-party relationships with local developers and publishers or actively shopping around for studios to buy, the suggestion is that Microsoft is eager to continue expansion into Asia.
In 2018 and 2019, Xbox acquired We Happy Few developer Compulsion Games, Wasteland creator inXile Entertainment, Playground Games, The Outer Worlds developer Obsidian Entertainment, Ninja Theory, Undead Labs, and Double Fine. Xbox Game Studios now boasts no less than fifteen first-party studios.
Xbox’s Expansion Into Asia
In an interview with Eurogamer at XO19 in November, Spencer revealed that Xbox is nowhere near putting the breaks on acquiring new studios, but that it has its sights firmly set on Asia.
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. 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.
The impetus behind Xbox’s focus on Asia stems not only from a desire to foster the unique creative output of the region, but to reverse the company’s historically lackluster success in the region. Last year, Microsoft sold 46.9 million Xbox One units worldwide. Of these, only 0.3% were sold in Japan.
It’s not Spencer’s first trip to Asia either. Last March, he visited both Korea and Japan in the lead up to E3 2019. The results of the trip were clear to see as Xbox gave From Software and SEGA a wide berth to strut their stuff during Microsoft’s E3 event to showcase Elden Ring and Phantasy Star Online 2, respectively. At XO19, Xbox followed suit with a string of Yakuza, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts titles heading to Xbox and Game Pass.