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Topic: Which Studios Should Microsoft Acquire Next?

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BAMozzy

The fact that Sega are pulling out of the Arcade business doesn't necessarily mean that they are in trouble. I would think that the Arcades were hanging on by nostalgia and the culture in Japan but the last few years with this Pandemic, social distancing etc, its got to have hit the Arcades hard - especially as they can get their gaming fix 'anywhere'.

Even with things 'improving', you'd think that the Arcades would probably not 'recover' to make it 'financially' worth doing. Sega can release games to Consoles, PC, Mobile inc 'Arcade' favourites - maybe a 'home' arcade collection.

Of course I'd love to see MS acquire Sega with all those great IP's and of course, Sega's relationship with Xbox as the 'spiritual' successor to the Dreamcast. I don't know if they could with Japanese business laws, but if possible, it would certainly give Xbox even more 'history' to preserve.

As for Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple, its no secret that they want to get in to the gaming space. However, starting a 'new' hardware brand is not easy at all - not with 'established' brands with their own big Studio's producing some of the Biggest IP's in gaming. However, they are looking beyond this or 'next' gen, as is MS, when its 'unsustainable' and/or too expensive to build consoles with the specs required to not only play the games at a standard we expect, but also to have sufficient 'storage' to be able to distribute them. Its much easy to keep investing in 'servers' with 'high' specs to play games, servers to store all the data etc. MSFS for example couldn't distribute the 'Earth' on a 1:1 scale on a Bluray, certainly couldn't store it on your 1TB SSD etc.

At the moment, Cloud is more for the Hardware that couldn't run these games well - Mobiles, tablets, weak PC/Laptops, last gen consoles. No way could MSFS run on a XB1, but with cloud streaming, you can play on basically any hardware with sufficient streaming bandwidth. 10yrs from now, your $700 console (inflation) may not buy 'enough' CPU/GPU/RAM and SSD storage/bandwidth to run the latest game at 4k/60 with all the bells and whistles. The AI, Physics, RT lighting etc just too much for a 'Console' costing $700. Blurays too no longer used because the size of games is too big etc. Especially with EVERYTHING these days needing Silicon chips, the cost and sustainability could be an issue. Also, if you can play a streamed game that looks and runs 'better' on the older hardware, why upgrade?

I know that's 'not' the future many of us 'ideally' want, but I can see that 'future' coming and I think MS, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple know it too. The infrastructure isn't quite there yet to 'stream' games with no/minimal latency impact but this is where those companies are investing in. Amazon and Google have their own 'streaming' and I can see a time when you have Game Pass, Stadia, Luna Apps etc on your 'smart TV', Mobile etc and just stream the games you want to play because the 'hardware' needed to run games at that 'quality' would cost ridiculously high prices (for a Console). Even nVidia are working on 'streaming' service too to bring RTX card benefits to those without that hardware.

At the moment, I don't know if those Companies (Google, Amazon etc) have the balls to go all in yet but if they decide they want in, then buying up established Studio's with well known IP's is a great way to boost your presence - but gaming isn't an 'instant' return as Games take quite some time to develop. Spending $7.5bn last year for example didn't result in the growth of Game Pass some may of expected - maybe because all the 'games' that were added were 'old' releases and the 'first' two expected releases were PS exclusives anyway (Deathloop, Ghostwire: Tokyo). Redfall looks to be the first game to come exclusively from this. Activision have basically just been CoD and it looks like PS has deals in place there too. Assuming that nothing 'changes' until MS do take over and those 'studio's' can start working on their own projects, that could be another 2 or 3yrs after close before MS start to have 'Exclusives' that bring in Subs.

At least MS has an established hardware platform too which is selling well, their games are doing well and so its likely their investment for the long term won't be as risky as their current 'growth' and popularity will carry them through until those Activision/Blizzard studio's are releasing games exclusively for MS. If Amazon, Google etc bought A/B, they'd have to not only find the $70bn, but also be prepared to keep 'funding' those studio's whilst they 'finish' off any contractual obligations (like CoD games with PS) and then keep funding those Studio's whilst they make their 'next' game for them - which could be several years after the deal closes.

I do think its 'inevitable' that mainstream gaming will be predominantly a streaming service - just because of the 'hardware' needed to not only 'run' those games at the standard we come to expect, but also the size of them and distribution/storage too. Streaming cuts out the need for multiple Blu-Rays, hours of downloading, needing space on the SSD to store it, downloading patches etc. For a developer, they only need to work on 'one' version, the one built to run on Cloud servers, no need to port to other systems, downgrade elements (res, frame rates, visual FX, Lighting, Shadows etc) to run on the 'weakest' platform. Anyone can access it anywhere they have sufficient internet bandwidth - even if they 'super sample' 4k down to '1080p' to stream to areas with 'lower' bandwidth, inc Mobile networks or 4k if your broadband can do it.

The Cloud is where the 'future' of mainstream games will inevitably end up. That doesn't mean that Consoles will disappear. The 'Switch' exists today yet cannot play the latest mainstream games 'natively' and at a standard we have come to expect. Yes its great for a 'portable' device but 'Doom', 'Wolfenstein' and the 'visual' cutbacks as well as the drop to '30fps' is not the standard we 'expect' from the latest consoles - it maybe 'acceptable' from a 'hand-held' device. Therefore, the addition of 'Cloud' gaming enables Nintendo to put games on Switch it couldn't run. Imagine if Game Pass came to Switch - Doom/Wolfenstein with 'Series X' visual settings, super sampled to 1080p and streamed at 60fps. Even with 'added' latency due to streaming, it could still feel better than the 'native' 30fps and even with some streaming compression, the visual clarity at 1080p (docked, or 720p portable) would be a significant improvement. Look ahead 10yrs+ and maybe the latest Xbox/Playstation is like the 'Switch' - 30fps with numerous visual downgrades to run on a 'Console' priced box or 'stream' from these 'super-servers' in the cloud for 'better' visuals/performance. Cloud isn't just for the box connected to the TV, but literally everywhere. You may just need a controller as your Smart TV has 'Game Pass' on it, your PC/Mobile already do...

Anyway, I do think that these companies will want to get in on that 'online' streaming - I think its more down to the 'timing'. At the moment, Cloud is still in its 'infancy' and reliant on a strong infrastructure. The latency issue hasn't yet been 'fully' solved either so its not quite ready to 'compete' with established physical hardware. Its pretty much a 'solution' for all the hardware that these games would 'never' release on because they don't have the necessary specs to run those. That's Mobiles/Tablets, weakPC/Laptops and last gen consoles but 10yrs from now, that could be $1k hardware so can't 'build' a console 'cheap' enough to compete with 'streaming'.

If Xbox/nVidia partnered up for example on 'servers', using DLSS too, they could do fully path traced games that just can't run anywhere near that standard on a $500-700 console build...

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LtSarge

@BAMozzy I actually spent some time last night researching Sega since this got me more interested in them as a company and I think there would be some problems for Microsoft if they wanted to acquire them. For starters, Microsoft would have to purchase the entirety of Sega Sammy if they wanted Sega and the corporation consists of multiple different businesses, including hotels, golf courses, pachinko machines and so on, i.e. stuff I don't think Microsoft would be interested in. So either Microsoft don't mind paying for all those things as well or maybe they'll be able to convince Sega Sammy to sell only Sega to them. Either way, this would be a complicated purchase for MS.

From my understanding, the arcade business gave them quite a bit of a revenue stream and with it gone, they won't be receiving as much money as before. Also, looking at the structure of the Sega development teams, it seems that they had three main development divisions before 2018 and since that year, they only have two now with the workers of the third being allocated to the other two teams. Basically, it doesn't seem like Sega is able to create as many games as before and I'm worried that it could be getting worse for them. They have so many under-utilised IPs now and they simply don't have the resources to be creating new games in those franchises.

Another thing I realised is that besides Sega's history with Microsoft in terms of the original Xbox, their studios have actually helped out Microsoft's quite a bit in recent time. I mentioned earlier that Relic Entertainment had worked with World's Edge when developing Age of Empires IV, but apparently another Sega studio, Creative Assembly, worked with 343 when developing Halo Wars 2. There are so many connections that you can make here and considering how many studios Sega has that develop PC games, it would seem like a perfect fit for Microsoft.

I'm even picturing what the Xbox + Sega banner would look like in terms of Sega franchises that are the most popular or that Microsoft would be interested in showing off. Sonic would be the obvious first choice, then Yakuza, Persona, Shin Megami Tensei, probably Valkyria Chronicles and then some PC titles like Total War and Football Manager. Because they would want to show off as many Japanese franchises as they can. That way people would know that they care about the Japanese market.

I do think though that if Microsoft acquired Sega, that would be their last acquisition. People think that because Microsoft spent $70 billion on Activision Blizzard that they would spend around the same amount on another publisher of that size. From what I've seen, Microsoft has $130 billion in cash and after the AB acquisition, they're going to have $60 billion. They're not going to spend their remaining cash on another huge publisher like Take-Two, Ubisoft, EA and so on. It's more likely that they're going to buy e.g. Sega since I've read that they would most likely cost only $5 billion. Which makes sense because they are definitely not as huge as AB, so purchasing another publisher that costs around the amount that ZeniMax cost makes more sense for Microsoft if you ask me.

At that point though there would not make a lot of sense for Microsoft to continue with their acquisition spree because they would have pretty much most genres covered for Game Pass and they'd have over 40 first-party studios if you include Sega and its studios. I think that's more than enough to release tons of games continuously on Game Pass.

Edited on by LtSarge

LtSarge

BAMozzy

@LtSarge I know its a very complicated situation at Sega and you also have Japanese laws about selling companies to overseas owners.

As for that 60bn left in MS's pockets, that has to be spent by the 'end' of their financial year otherwise they have to pay a lot in taxes etc. Of course MS doesn't have to invest that in 'gaming' specifically as they have other interests that they could choose to put some money in. Activision could also require big 'investment' to bring the studio's up to standard and producing games of their own when they take over. Its no secret that they have lost talent and also found it difficult to recruit to fill those gaps. They can't put that money into Activision 'yet' either.

I think that if any of those Publishers/Studio's though are interested in 'selling' or being 'aggressively' approached from Amazon, Google etc, then MS would step in and 'try' to acquire them. It makes more sense right now, I think, to ensure a good working partnership that still results in their games coming to the platforms we 'expect'. I know I said that 'EA' would be a 'great' purchase too and would 'hit' PS in the Revenue pocket (losing CoD and all those EA games - Fifa, Madden, Mass Effect, Battlefield etc) or at least any marketing and promotional deals, the association they would have with Xbox, even if MS were to release on PS etc would give MS massive bargaining power to put Game Pass on PS. They could just do a 'curated' list with selected games (not Halo, Forza, Gears, but some games that have some 'history' on that platform). However, it doesn't really make 'sense' to buy 'EA' even if they 'could' because those games are still coming to Xbox/PC's, EA has a 'good' relationship with MS and EA Play is part of Game Pass Ultimate so MS doesn't 'need' to buy. Its much more likely to add smaller studio's or invest in their current studio's, build them up into 2 or more teams like Playground.

Unless those 'big' studio's are looking for buyers or have potential buyers sniffing around, I don't know we will see another 'big' deal in the next few years but then I thought the Zenimax purchase was so big that would tide MS over for a 'few' years at least so who knows what will happen - I certainly didn't predict that MS would spend $70bn a year after paying out $7.5bn on Zenimax.

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Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

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BAMozzy

You know, I can see Ubisoft too perhaps struggling and maybe looking to sell before I see Sega having to sell. I know Sega have closed down their Arcades which I think makes sense as it can't be 'too profitable' considering the running costs and long term future of arcades. They must of been hit hard over the past few years and no doubt declined from the popularity of the 80's. The fact that Sega have other interests, I think they'd sell off their Hotels before gaming.

Ubisoft have had similar workplace allegations too and their 'head' has basically just come out and called gamers 'stupid' for not understanding what NFT's mean for gaming. A few 'flops' of late too (XDefiant, the last Ghost Recon, Division 2 etc), Games in development hell (Skull & Bones, Beyond Good & Evil 2...) etc. 10yrs ago, EA was regarded as the 'worst' company in the world (let alone in gaming) and if Bobby Kotick and Activision/Blizzard hadn't taken that title in recent years, Ubisoft would. They survived an aggressive buyout by Vivendi in 2015-18 and since they 'survived' that, they've 'struggled' with 'weak sales' (although Valhalla did well), numerous allegations of sexual misconduct that had been covered up and dismissed, Their Studio's in Canada getting pay rises to bring 'their' pay up to be more competitive in the industry (because Canada has a LOT of Start-ups for studio's so Ubisoft were losing talent and with their 'low' pay and poor reputation, struggled to recruit too) but their other studio's still being 'underpaid', expected to crunch and not a pleasant place to work. Add in the gamers 'voice' about NFT's and the 'impact' they may have on Game Sales and the future at Ubisoft is not looking 'great'.

I'm not going to buy FarCry7, Assassins Creed 17 (or whatever number the next one is), or their 'Star Wars' game if they have any NFT's in the game. I'm at the point now where I am 'not' excited by yet another Ubisoft game in any of their big franchises and whilst I did enjoy 'Valhalla', I can't see myself wanting to buy the 'next' AC game on Day 1 at its most expensive price - besides, I could be playing Avowed, Starfield, Fable etc for 'free' so I can wait until the price drops, wait to see if NFT's get bundled in after etc.

I think if Ubisoft continue to see their value drop with more bad press, more 'mediocre' games not selling in the numbers they hoped, continue with NFT's (which seem to be a last desperate attempt to make 'money' to offset the downward trajectory of sales as development costs rise), then it looks like Ubisoft could be sold off whilst it still has enough 'value' to come out on top.

A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!

Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

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Xbox Gamertag: bamozzy

LtSarge

@BAMozzy I agree completely. Like I said before, the pattern that Microsoft is now exhibiting is that they're buying up publishers that have some kind of issues. So to me it doesn't make sense for them to acquire companies like Take-Two, EA, Square Enix, Capcom and so on, i.e. publishers that are doing well. However, just like you said, Ubisoft has been experiencing a lot of negative press and issues with their work culture, just like Activision Blizzard. So to me, the most likely candidates for the next acquisition by Microsoft would have to be either Sega or Ubisoft.

Personally, I wouldn't mind them buying up Ubisoft for those reasons. Microsoft could fix their company culture, get rid of all this talk about NFTs, make them stop focusing so much on free-to-play titles and bring back dormant IPs like Rayman. On top of this, there are obviously a lot of Ubisoft studios as well great IPs to gain from purchasing them. I think Microsoft would be able to compete better with Sony if they had Ubisoft franchises like Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Watch Dogs and so on on Game Pass since they're single-player open world adventure games. Not to mention that it would remove the issue of adding Ubisoft+ to Game Pass and potentially raising the price of the service, which is what people think will happen ever since Ubisoft announced that Ubisoft+ is coming to Xbox later this year.

So realistically speaking, I think either Ubisoft or Sega will be next publisher that Microsoft acquires, especially if they have to spend their remaining $60 billion in cash before the end of their fiscal year, which would be in June 2022. Imagine if Microsoft announced within the next couple of months that they're buying Ubisoft as well, that would be absolutely insane.

LtSarge

BAMozzy

That would be insane! I wouldn't be surprised IF MS were to acquire Ubisoft by 'E3' this year, or even in the near future because after buying Activision/Blizzard, without any real rumours/leaks, even addressing the 'issues' in a way that also didn't alert people, I don't think anything can surprise after that.

I think MS purchasing Sega, as much as I'd like them too, would be a big surprise because Japanese companies that big don't get sold to overseas owners. At most, I could see a 'strategic' partnership being formed but actual ownership of Sega seems incredibly 'unlikely' due to Japanese Law more than anything else. Its like MS buying Nintendo - they may have the money and means to do so, even if Sega or Nintendo want to sell, Japanese Law would prevent them selling to 'overseas' owners. I'd like to be 'wrong' on that as that also opens up Capcom, Bandai Namco and Square Enix too as potential 'options' if the 'right' opportunities exist.

I still think EA would have a 'bigger' impact on the gaming world than Ubisoft. The first person shooters would pretty much all be under Xbox (CoD, Battlefield, Halo, Doom, Quake, Titanfall/Apex etc) as well as all those Sports sims, NFS, the Sims, C&C, Mass Effect etc. Ubisoft have great 'franchises' but most need a 'new' approach. AC is beginning to feel 'old' after rebooting for Origins, Ghost Recon/Tom Clancy games aren't really what they were anymore and losing fans, Splinter Cell has been absent for too long and it seems they are digging a deeper hole to bury themselves - which would make it a 'great' buy for MS, but also seems like another more 'long term' project rather than something that could start paying off quickly and with Activision/Blizzard likely to be a long term project too, that's a LOT of staff, a LOT of Studio's etc that really need to be 'sorted' out and 're-energised'. One problem when buying a 'struggling' company with MANY issues and unhappy staff.

I know it doesn't make sense right now to buy EA as it seems MS has a good relationship with EA and EA Play on Game Pass has also been successful for both. Therefore it doesn't make sense unless someone else comes sniffing and/or aggressively trying to buy them out. I think partnerships with Sega (or other 'big' Japanese publisher) makes more sense too - Sega 'could' partner with MS to bring their games to Game Pass too - giving Sega a LOT of reach and bringing millions into their games on day 1. A LOT of Sega games would be perfect too for Game Pass for Mobiles and, with a 'great' partnership, you could have 'Sega' characters in Xbox games (Smash Bros with Sonic, Knuckles, Crash, Banjo, Spyro, Psychonauts, Conker etc) or even have an Xbox IP or their Characters made by Sega - maybe modes in games Forza Outrun, Forza Crazy Taxi...

MS wouldn't necessarily 'need' to own Sega but a great partnership could help BOTH. Sega would benefit from that reach and infrastructure MS has. That would help their fortunes and potentially keep those looking to get into Gaming from coming in and buying. Sega is 'stronger' partnered with MS than competing on their own.

Anyway, we will see what happens. Regardless of whether MS add anymore studio's in the 'near' future or not, I much prefer their business model and the message they are constantly telling us, as well as their actions which align with their message (can't say 'every' company is that transparent or tell us one thing but their actions say another). The 'future' looks great, but even right now, before they add A/B to MS officially, Xbox is at its 'strongest' its ever been. The 360 was 'strong', aided somewhat by Sony's miss-steps with the PS3, but even with a 'strong' Sony (Great PS5 Console at the same price as a Series X, some of the most critically acclaimed studios making some of the 'best' games every year, the only console to offer VR etc), MS look significantly stronger thanks to their 'business model' and investment into building up their own portfolio of great studio's and IP's.

A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!

Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

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Xbox Gamertag: bamozzy

LtSarge

@BAMozzy EA would be pretty huge as well, but like you said, EA Play is already on Game Pass Ultimate so we wouldn't really notice any changes to Game Pass after an acquisition, especially since EA titles get added to the service roughly one year later anyway. I also think that with Activision Blizzard, Microsoft has got the "mainstream" audience covered in terms of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and so on. I think it would benefit Microsoft more to acquire a company with IPs that appeal to other audiences compared to ZeniMax and Activision Blizzard, i.e. open world adventure games (Ubisoft) or JRPGs (Sega). Not to mention that it would be kinda overkill to have even more shooters like Battlefield exclusive to Xbox. I can't imagine what that would do to Halo.

But yeah, the reason why I'm excited for more acquisitions is that Microsoft seems to actually care about the companies they buy. If they can improve the companies' situation internally as well as provide us with more games on Game Pass, I'd be all for more acquisitions. Because ideally, I'd prefer to have most of my games on one system instead of having to buy a PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo system every generation. It's just an unnecessary hassle because at the end of the day, I'm not going to have the time to be playing every single game that I want to play on those systems anyway. My backlog would just keep growing for all eternity at that point.

And the thing is, if I were to choose one system to go with this generation, I'd definitely choose Xbox because of Game Pass and because they have the most amount of appealing first-party titles compared to the other two companies. Even if Sony has a lot of high-quality exclusives, they just can't compete with Microsoft's money or Game Pass service. So I think it's important for people like me who haven't bought a current-gen system yet to think about how the gaming industry will look like within the next five years. Right now it's not that appealing to have an Xbox, but in five years? Absolutely. Just imagine all the exclusives we'll be playing at that point.

Edited on by LtSarge

LtSarge

Duck21

Well, phil has commented several times that he wanted a studio in japan, and I know that they have tango already but thats not going to make any difference for them in the region

Capcom will be great since their ips are iconic in gaming and it will drive a lot of users directly to gamepass, but since I read the rumours that xbox is planning to make their own monster hunter game it doesnt make sense

Sega will be the dream acquisition since they have a bigger relationship with xbox since the dreamcast, but like others said it will be a decision of sega sammy

Square enix is possible, I mean I didnt saw bethesda coming to xbox after the announcement of deathloop and ghostwire tokyo being exclusive to ps5, neither activision giving a ton of exclusive content to ps users in cod, but both ended being on xbox
So that make square enix a possibility, lately they have been treating xbox as trash making them pay for the ports of their games meanwhile nintendo and sony get them for free
It will be really crazy to see them comig to xbox, but having final fantasy, dragon quest, kingdom hearts and others will be amazing for xcloud in japan

Edited on by Duck21

Duck21

BAMozzy

@LtSarge I totally agree - MS certainly seems to care about gaming, not only the preservation of games, but also the 'creativity' of developers too. Game Pass by its very nature is about preserving the 'creativity' over forcing the most 'commercial' projects.

Activision/Blizzard (like many Publishers) are so 'sales' focussed, that because 'no' studio could 'compete' with CoD sales, they eventually all wound up making CoD to ensure that came out 'yearly'. Maybe it was the 'success' of Treyarch being 'pulled' in to give Infinity Ward the 'extra' year they needed for CoD4:MW that eventually led to everyone else eventually working on the IP as each new game, especially each new platform generation leap, took longer and longer, or more and more people to meet the 'annual' release target. Why let High Moon (for example) work on their 'own' game that won't sell anywhere near CoD numbers, when they can 'help' make sure CoD releases in time for the Holiday season and make 'more' money?

Game Pass isn't 'sales' focussed, its Player focussed. It doesn't matter if a game sells ZERO copies because its 'free' on Game Pass. Its about Player engagement (how many 'tried' the game, what percentage played 50% or more) and Subscriber Growth (how many 'new' subscribers signed up, how many are 'staying' subscribed). All this talk about 'quality' dropping because of 'free' games, it doesn't work like that. The games 'have' to be games people WANT to play otherwise they won't 'subscribe' or remain subscribed.

Game Pass is a 'monthly' subscription so MS 'needs' at least 1 'big' game every month to bring Subs in and to keep those already subbed. Therefore from MS's perspective, the more studio's they have working on their 'own' projects, inc any 3rd Party studio they are Publishing (like Contraband from Avalanche studio's), the fewer games they will 'need' to negotiate with 3rd Party publishers to put on Game Pass.

For studio's, Game Pass takes away the 'commercial' pressure and decision making - they are 'free' to make the game they 'want' to make, take 'creative' risks etc because they are not worried about 'sales targets'. Its about putting their creative freedom and passion into the games they want to make for 'Gamers' to bring gamers to Game Pass. As long as 'new' games are constantly coming to Game Pass, MS will be happy. This is why MS talks about 'individual' studio's with their own culture.

If we look at the studio's MS has, each has its own 'identity'. Double Fine make 'typical' Double Fine games, Obsidian make Obsidian type games, Ninja Theory make Ninja Theory games etc 343 - Halo, Coalition - Gears, Mojang - Minecraft. That's also why 'Bethesda' was a 'perfect' fit for MS, not just because of 'years' of working relatively closely,but because everyone of Zenimax studio's also have their own identity too - an Arcane game is a 'typical' Arcane game, Bethesdas games are 'typical' of Bethesda.

Anyway, I still stand by my points too.

I think EA, however 'unlikely' or 'unnecessary' right now, would have the biggest impact on the gaming world - especially Sony who's other 'biggest' revenue stream is the annual 'Fifa' franchise. With Battlefield, Titanfall/Apex, Mass Effect, Dragonage etc also, that would give MS tremendous bargaining power to get Game Pass on PS/Switch.

I think Sega, however 'unlikely' or 'unnecessary' right now, would be a great addition due to that long history with some of the 'best' loved games. Its IP's would be worth adding alone but with the Japanese business law, I really don't know if MS could. Maybe MS may have to look outside of Japan to get more 'Asian' games - Maybe Game Science -the Studio making Black Myth: Wukong - for example.

I do agree that Ubisoft makes the most sense right now. MS would do wonders for Ubisoft with their fully inclusive, equal opportunities mantra. Also not being 'sales' focussed would scrap the 'NFT' chatter so overall its a 'big' win for both MS and those developer studio's. I don't know though if MS has the desire and/or man power to tackle both A/B and Ubisoft pretty much simultaneously. Also, I think you'd get some of that 'I don't care, Ubisoft haven't done anything good for years', or AC is no loss to them - of course you'll get some crying 'monopoly' etc.

I think MS would be looking 'closely' at Ubisoft the most and the 'most' likely next 'big' Acquisition. Its the one I'd prefer to see next for the same reasons as you and potentially the 'best' for their studio's and for gamers too. It would be crazy to hear 'Microsoft welcomes Ubisoft to the Xbox Family' in the next 6months...

A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!

Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

Feel free to add me but please send a message so I know where you know me from...

Xbox Gamertag: bamozzy

KilloWertz

@BAMozzy Your posts are so long, I generally take a nap at the middle point and finish it later. It's all good actually. Keep doing what you're doing. lol

Ubisoft would be a huge deal, and Microsoft acquiring them would finally get me to commit to the Series X as my main platform and just use my PS5 for exclusives. Assassin's Creed is a huge deal to me, so if it was exclusive to Xbox, I wouldn't have much choice. I'd be fine with it.

PSN ID/Xbox Live Gamertag: KilloWertz
Switch Friend Code: SW-6448-2688-7386

BAMozzy

@KilloWertz LOL

I think it would be a 'big deal' for me too as a fan of AC games in general too but I was referring more to the global perception and 'impact' it could have. Of course there are 'fans' of AC, Far Cry, Rabbids etc on PS/Switch that it would have more impact on but losing those games, based on the previous few years with numerous 'failures' and generally a decline in interest in Ubisoft games. They are almost a 'meme' now of that 'formulaic' open world design that their games have, the amount of filler, etc.

I have completed 'everything' in Origins & its DLC, as well as Valhalla too, so I don't mind some filler, but splitting up map with 'every' region having the 'same' activities to check off and towers to reveal Points of interest on the map etc. Arguably AC, like FarCry almost needs a 'reboot' again.

In my opinion, with the way things are 'right' now, I'd rather MS bought 'Ubisoft'. I think of all the Publishers right now, Ubisoft need a new management to change their perception of a 'poor' employee to work for, which in turn would help keep staff and recruit good staff too. I think it would be a much more positive purchase for the gaming industry as a whole and immediately shuts down 'NFT' BS which again may make 'Square Enix' (or any other publisher thinking about NFT's) to 'rethink' their actions/motives. Its not easy to 'stand alone' on bringing NFT's against the public opinion...

I just think that because Ubisoft are 'losing' the respect and interest of more and more gamers, becoming more of a 'meme', that if MS were going primarily for an immediate impact, EA would be a 'better' purchase and would bring more subscribers in to Game Pass. Their back catalogue in Game Pass as well as the platform associated strongly with Fifa, Madden, Mass Effect, Apex etc as well as the potential for the future would bring more in than AC/Far Cry. What's happened with XDefiant, Hyper Scape etc? Based on the time its taken for Skull N Bones to come, I can see that 'flopping' too because it probably won't sell enough to cover the costs. I don't see 'many' really excited to see where Ubisoft go next in AC and definitely a 'Day1' buy.

That's more a reflection on Ubisoft, not their IP's. Their IP's still have a lot of potential and could be some of the 'best' games released but the more 'formulaic' and repetitive their games are, the more 'average' those games feel. Their games are more 'great to pick up several months later', great 'bargain bin' games because that's how Ubisoft are using their IP's - another reason I'd prefer new management. Its Ubisoft themselves that have let their reputation and the respect of gamers slide to the point that I bet a lot of PS gamers wouldn't really think about getting a platform for Game Pass because Ubisoft's 'reputation' and 'recent' releases haven't had any impact on their gaming.

What I was attempting to do, maybe 'failed', was to look at the reputation and potential impact each could have. As we saw with $7.5bn invested in Bethesda, Game Pass growth hasn't hit their target/predicted growth - maybe because Fallout76 wasn't great and Bethesda haven't really done anything since Skyrim and that was bad on PS3 - Fallout 4 was 3 with clunky base building bolted on - also Deathloop/Ghostwire timed exclusivity on PS4 and coming up to 2yrs later, still not provided an 'Exclusive' to attract gamers to Game Pass. If MS aim is to boost numbers 'quickly' with an announcement, EA I think, has the biggest pull because Fifa is one of the 'biggest' selling annual titles so has a big impact. The IP's in general are a 'good' fit for MS and PC gamers too so all in all, I think it would have the 'biggest' impact. Sega has so much potential too - certainly for conquering Japan and boosting Game Pass too - so many games would work well on Game Pass for Mobile - but I don't think Sega would be allowed to sell to MS.

Ubisoft to me is the 'best' option for 'gaming' and the industry for the reasons mentioned. They have great IP's that a 'fresh' and motivated creative team - not just those within the 'Ubisoft' realm, but all of Xbox Studio's, could bring something new and exciting to these IP's. I am not looking forward to the 'future' of 'Ubisoft' under the current management so therefore this is the 'ideal' next purchase. I also think that the 'state' of Ubisoft and the morale of Studio's is also a more involved situation that would take 'time' and 'money' to get Ubisoft where MS want them to be.

A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!

Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

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KilloWertz

@BAMozzy The thing with EA is a decent portion of their games are on Game Pass already because of EA Play being on there. Obviously you have to wait a while, but they get there eventually. I think Ubisoft would be a better fit given that they are struggling a bit like what Microsoft has targeted recently.

I can't comment on Far Cry 6's sales and such as I don't follow the series much I have yet to play one, but I did plan on finally playing 6 at some point down the road when I have an opening to play it and I can get the game and Season Pass for really cheap. Assassin's Creed seems to still be doing pretty well despite the memes and some people tiring of the formula. If I remember correctly, Valhalla has sold really well. That is the one series they have that could still make an impact with people if Microsoft bought them.

Like you also said, if Microsoft buying them gets them to forget about NFTs, then that's great. I'm not sure whether they would pull the plug on Assassin's Creed Infinity since they've been working on it for a while, but if they would just turn it into the next regular Assassin's Creed game, then even better.

PSN ID/Xbox Live Gamertag: KilloWertz
Switch Friend Code: SW-6448-2688-7386

BAMozzy

@KilloWertz Anything MS allows them to do creatively for the franchise without having to find some long term 'financial' rewards to factor in. Valhalla is the anomaly in recent times and whilst some games did 'ok', have their 'fans' (Ghost Recon, Imortals: Fenix Rising, Watch Dogs etc), they didn't perform as well as expected and their sales overall are 'down'. Their attempts at F2P (XDefiant, Hyper Scape) have failed so they are hoping that you get excited by NFT's because that's going to offset the losses of dwindling sales and maybe if AC is the 'biggest', end up becoming the 'only' game coming out as they have all there studio's feeding annual content - isn't that the path Activision found themselves doing too when 'sales' are such the 'big' focus. The price drops really quickly to try get more sales to get more to buy MTX/DLC/Season Pass content and its in their games to just to tempt you to buy the 'full' set....

As I said Ideally, as a gamer more concerned about the games and the people creating them than the politics - especially as I own 'both' a PS5 and Xbox and would still need both, I hope MS does buy Ubisoft, the sooner the better.

I was offering alternative perspective about which would have the 'biggest' impact IF the ultimate goal is to get Game Pass EVERYWHERE and right now, the ONLY platforms you can't play Game Pass on is Playstation and Switch. If you want to make a statement about which Platform to buy, when CoD & Fifa are associated to Xbox, especially if things are easing up and they can both start shipping new consoles out to meet demand, the one that hits Sony Revenue the 'hardest' to be a lot more open to 'Game Pass for Playstation', that is 'EA'.

The studio that's helped with Halo and having their 'Monster Hunter' style game published could be 'next' or some other independent studio(s) so who knows. I'd love it to be Ubisoft, that's a 'dream' acquisition. If EA was next, I think it would say to me MS want Game Pass everywhere and that's going to be the only way you'll get to play ANYTHING unless it suits them to do so, Ubisoft would tell me more that they care about gaming and the safe all inclusive world they believe in.

I just hope that if (and its a mighty big IF) they are choosing which to buy with their $60bn, they go with their heart and save Ubisoft and not with their head that may conclude EA is going to get them to their ultimate goal quicker...

A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!

Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

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BomberBlur07

Nobody should buy Capcom.

BomberBlur07

LtSarge

Well, after yesterday's news about Bungie being acquired by Sony, I'm glad that Microsoft is at least making more interesting acquisitions that benefit me more as a consumer. They've acquired ZeniMax and Activision Blizzard, which consist of dozens of studios in total and have tons of IPs that will be added to Game Pass. So as an Xbox user, I can expect tons of older games to be added to Game Pass and lots of future releases being added day one to the service. While as a PlayStation user, I can expect more live-service games like Destiny on PlayStation. Both companies are playing two completely different games.

Something that a lot of people have forgotten about amidst these acquisition wars is that Microsoft actually has a goal in mind with their acquisitions, which is to bolster Game Pass. They're going to stop acquiring eventually once they've reached a good threshold of first-party studios. I can easily see them buying one or two more publishers such as Sega and/or Ubisoft, and then call it a day. Because at that point, they will have enough exclusive content to add to Game Pass on a constant basis.

On the other hand, Sony is buying up studios that won't provide games to a subscription service because they don't have one and even if they release the rumoured Spartacus, it won't be receiving new titles on day one anyway. The only way to experience new PlayStation games is to pay €70 for them and they're now focusing more on multiplayer/live-services games instead of single-player titles.

So as a PlayStation and Xbox user, it's hard for me to be excited for PlayStation while I'm super excited for Xbox and what I'll be playing on Game Pass in the future. Microsoft is giving me more reasons to support them due to their acquisitions, while Sony is giving me less reasons with their acquisitions.

LtSarge

Noconfidenceman

Hey everyone,

I’m a pretty big into JRPGs and Japanese games in general and I regularly listen to 8-4 Play a podcast run by people who live in Japan and localise Japanese games like Fire Emblem awakening.

They were recently talking about Microsoft acquiring a Japanese studio and they made some interesting points. They felt that the studio would quickly haemorrhage talent as Xbox isn’t a big brand in Japan. If Microsoft were to acquire a bigger Japanese studio they’d first have to get a bigger foothold in Japan as employees wouldn’t be motivated to make games for a console no one they know actually plays. It was an interesting discussion they spoke about Square Enix and how they would probably laugh them out of the room like Nintendo did back in the day.

I could only see a situation like Capcom which was previously up for sale as they doing poorly before monster Hunter and Resi hit it big working out favourably for Xbox.

I think Microsoft needs to use more soft power in Japan to get Japanese games on the system, they’ve been making headway but they still have a ways to go.

Noconfidenceman

LtSarge

@Noconfidenceman While that's certainly true, there are also several counterarguments you can make about this:

1) Sony doesn't care about Japan as much as before and is slowly ruining their relationship with Japanese customers. Therefore, when people hear that Microsoft actually cares about the Japanese market by acquiring a Japanese company, they will most likely turn to Xbox instead of PlayStation. Sony downsized their Japan Studio and is focusing more on Hollywood blockbusters ever since they moved their PlayStation HQ to California.

Mind you I'm only looking at Sony and Microsoft now, Nintendo is in a league of their own in Japan.

2) Microsoft is known for asking acquired studios which games they want to work on and how much money they would need. Then they simple write a cheque to the studio, no questions asked. Imagine if a Japanese publisher like Sega got that treatment. Right now the publisher isn't developing many games of their own, we're mostly seeing Sonic and Yakuza while dozens of other IPs have gone under-utilised. If Microsoft acquired Sega, they would be able to give them the resources they need to secure financial stability and thus more games can be developed for other Sega franchises. And if there's one problem that has plagued Sega since the beginning of this millennium, it's the lack of financial stability.

3) Microsoft isn't looking to sell more consoles, they're looking to sell more Game Pass subscriptions. The service is available on Xbox, PC and mobile devices and we all know how much the Japanese people love their mobile devices and playing games on the go. Given the sophisticated online infrastructure Japan has, if Microsoft acquires a Japanese publisher and put their games on Game Pass, more Japanese people would be enticed to subscribe to Game Pass without needing to buy an Xbox.

Edited on by LtSarge

LtSarge

Noconfidenceman

@LtSarg

Hey Sarg you make some interesting points but right now GamePass is only really available in the Japanese market via consoles which they’re are very little on the ground and via the xcloud on IPad.

The few people I’ve heard of that tried to play via the cloud said it was not fast enough to play games like Hades ect. as more and more JRPGs are turning into ARPGs will pose an issue.

Japanese corporate culture is pretty conservative from what I’ve seen, I just don’t see a Sega deal happening at the moment unless they start to really bleed money.

Sega is actually having a bit of a resonance atm I think Yukuza is doing pretty well, Persona has become a mainstream JRPG lately and 4 golden has had a pretty successful PC release. Shin Megami Tensei 5 has also become the fastest selling game in the series and it might be getting a Steam release as well like SMT III. Things like football manager and total war continue to truck on and they’ve been releasing a lot of their back catalog like super monkey ball collection or the Panzer Dragon remake. They’ve also restructured and sold off their arcade business. While Sega might be close to Microsoft I think it’s telling that games like Sakura Wars didn’t get an Xbox release.

I could see Sega selling to Nintendo over Microsoft tbh as more of their franchises resonate with that audience. Nintendo is also the market leader in Japan as well.

I think Microsoft would be better setting their sights on something like a Falcom which has been growing in popularity and is one of the first Japanese developers to have truly embraced steam or a Bandi Namco than a Sega tbh. I think games like Ys might be a better fit for Xbox as well and they’ve always worked on a shoestring budget so it would be amazing to see them have a budget to fund a new Trails or YS game.

Edited on by Noconfidenceman

Noconfidenceman

LtSarge

I've been thinking about how Microsoft's type of acquisitions have changed over the years and I think it's fair to say that they keep upping the ante when it comes to their purchases. At first they were buying up individual studios, now they're acquiring whole publishers. Do you guys think that the next acquisition will remain large or could they go back to buying individual studios again?

I remember last year there were talks about Microsoft acquiring IO Interactive, Avalanche and Crytek and it could still happen. But it would feel weird to see them acquiring individual studios after having bought one of the largest publishers on the gaming market. The thing is though that they keep pulling moves that no one see coming. Nobody thought they would acquire a publisher like Activision Blizzard. Now everyone's expecting them to buy another publisher. Maybe they will keep doing unexpected things and buy individual studios instead.

Edited on by LtSarge

LtSarge

BAMozzy

@LtSarge I think if the right Studio became available, or MS wanted to, they'd acquire single studio's too - not just another multi-studio publisher. The studio who has supported Halo & CoD, now making the 'Monster Hunter' game to be published by Xbox Publishing, could be the 'next' addition - just as easily as 'Ubisoft'.

I think under Phil Spencer, they want Studio's that have their 'own' thing, their own 'identity' - like Rare, Double Fine, Bethesda, Arcane, Ninja Theory, Obsidian etc so any studio that has their own identity could be on the Radar. A/B was a 'different' proposition but long term, I do think we will see CoD run by 'one' studio with the others being 'freed' to make what they 'want', start to have their 'own' identity again, much like they all did before Activison moved them into supporting CoD. Treyarch made Spider-Man and James Bond games before being asked to step in to CoD so Infinity Ward would get an 'extra' year to make CoD4 for example.

I don't think MS are 'done' yet so it really depends on who 'fits' MS's plans and/or who becomes available for whatever reasons. I still think its possible they'll look at 'individual' studio's and consider 'big' publishers if/when the time is 'right'.

A pessimist is just an optimist with experience!

Why can't life be like gaming? Why can't I restart from an earlier checkpoint??

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