At this years’ E3 showcase, Microsft made some big announcements regarding the fact that they acquired five new developers. One of them happens to be a new team called Playground Games, based in Santa Monica and are best known for their Forza Horizon games. They also bought Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), Undead Labs (State of Decay), The Initiative, and Ninja Theory (Heavenly Sword).
This was pretty big news because although they’re not huge companies, they’re still pretty significant in the titles they’re known for. Seeing how Ninja Theory is now an in-house developer, people got excited about the future game lineup from this developer. Head of Microsoft Studios Matt Booty talks about the reasoning behind buying a studio like Ninja Theory in a recent interview:
“When you think about our existing content as it relates to Game Pass… you can see that we’re fortunate to have some really large franchises, with Halo, Gears of War, Forza, Minecraft, Age of Empires… these are all well-established franchises.”
“I use the world franchise deliberately, because these games are typically multi-platform, they have a presence off of Xbox, they have millions of players and iterations of the game going back a decade or more.
“An amazing thing about Ninja Theory is that it is very clear that the studio orbits around ideas and creativity, and the characters, storytelling, and settings really come first for them. That just meshes really well with our desire to provide our players, especially those in Game Pass, with content that is new, unique, has variety, and sits outside of the stuff we are doing with our bigger franchises.”
The main reason is Game Pass, which is Xbox’s subscription service aside from their Gold Service for online play. Game Pass allows players to unlock over 100 indie and first-party titles for just $10 a month with unlimited play. New games are always added and older games are rotated out. Some third-party titles are also in the mix- even some AAA titles like DOOM.