We seem to be caught in a whirlwind of gaming acquisition news as of late, from progress on the Xbox ActiBlizz deal, to Embracer buying a bunch of studios, to rumours about an EA deal, and even more besides. While these deals often bring out both supporters and sceptics in equal measure, we think that more merging in gaming doesn't necessarily have to be bad for the industry, it just depends where the buyouts take us.

Look at Xbox under the leadership of Phil Spencer. Sure, acquisitions like Bethesda will, in the short term, mean that some of their titles will switch platforms and be taken away from others, but that isn't really Xbox's long-term strategy, at least as we know it. Spencer has repeatedly said that he sees less console exclusives in the future, with Call of Duty seemingly being one series that'll remain multiplatform even after a big first-party acquisition.

Then, broadly speaking, Xbox is trying to create a more open eco-system. The company's push for cloud gaming is making Xbox as a brand more accessible; you can play Game Pass on smart TVs already! That's not to mention the brand's huge push in the PC market, where Xbox Game Studios and PC Game Pass are coming together to create a healthy platform on the PC marketplace; a marketplace that's open to a lot more players than any specific console.

Image: Xbox Cloud Gaming On Smart TVs

It isn't just Xbox either. Sony recently acquired Bungie, who now sit under the PlayStation banner as a first-party studio. However, Sony's plan doesn't appear to be pushing for Bungie to create a new, PlayStation exclusive IP. Moreover, Sony seemingly brought Bungie on board to help build out the platform's live service lineup, with no plans to make Destiny an exclusive any time soon.

In fact, the push for live service as a whole should only help things become more platform inclusive. It just doesn't make sense to lock an online, live service game — especially when filled to the brim with microtransactions — to platform exclusivity. Xbox isn't doing that with Call of Duty, Sony isn't doing that with Destiny, and we'd expect many more examples to follow suit in the coming months and years.

There's always the chance that one such company could change the dynamic and keep things more locked down, you certainly couldn't count that out. However, cross-play is a fine example at why leading the way with smart and forward-thinking decisions can make others follow suit. Sony was vehemently against the idea of cross-play when Xbox was pushing it, yet at this stage, it's become an industry norm.

Image: Bungie Merged With PlayStation Earlier This Year

Then, there's the economic pressures of creating successful games. The industry is just about as healthy as ever, driven by a surge in gaming post-pandemic. However, the push for even bigger games with bigger budgets and more comprehensive post-launch plans means the gambles are even more risky, and the potential fallouts are even worse. Why would you jeopardise your chances of creating the next Fortnite, Destiny or Call of Duty by locking your big budget game to one platform? It's starting to make less and less sense as the years go on.

Look, we're not saying news of more acquisitions is particularly good for the industry, especially when it comes to smaller games taking more creative risks. But, with the way things are headed, we can't see the trend creating more exclusive-driven ecosystems than what we already have. If anything, gaming is already moving towards a more open future, where consistently high player counts are becoming the yardstick for success.

Are acquisitions a good thing for the industry or not? Leave your thoughts on the matter down below.