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Microsoft continues to add some major developers to its in-house stable, most recently picking up inXile Entertainment and the team behind Fallout: New Vegas, Obsidian.
Rumors have been circulating in recent weeks that Microsoft was eyeing a couple more studios for acquisition and, based on a report from Engadget, they've followed through on exactly that. The team at inXile Entertainment is perhaps best known for its work on games like Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera, while Obsidian is the crew behind South Park: the Stick of Truth and Pillars of Eternity.
As you might have noticed, both of these studios are big on roleplaying games, which has been something of a weak point for Microsoft consoles. Their games are also typically big hits with critics and fans alike, making them a pretty sound investment for Microsoft.
If you had any doubts that Microsoft is gearing up for a big push on the next generation of gaming, this should just about seal the deal. Microsoft has been gobbling up studios left and right this year, including the likes of Undead Labs, Playground Games, Compulsion and Ninja Theory. These latest acquisitions put them at about 10 new studios in 2018 alone and, since the Xbox One is entering its twilight years, it seems reasonable to believe that Microsoft has brought these teams onboard in order to start the next generation off with a bang.
From the Xbox 360 years until today, one of Microsoft's biggest weak points in gaming was a lack of exclusive games. Outside of Halo, Forza and Gears of War, the Xbox platform doesn't have many major exclusives to its name. Picking up all of these studios will change that in the coming years, which is perfect timing for the Xbox Two, or whatever Microsoft is planning on calling their next home console.
Perhaps the best news concerning these most recent acquisitions, though, is that it doesn't sound like Microsoft is planning on having a heavy hand with its new studios. In a statement concerning the acquisitions, Microsoft said that both inXile and Obsidian will "continue to operate autonomously," meaning they can keep making whatever games float their fancy. The uptick, obviously, is that those games will now come out exclusively on Microsoft platforms. Given the studios at play here, it's likely that will include PC.
It's also worth pointing out how forward thinking this is of Microsoft. It's not uncommon for one of the "Big Three" to sign a promising or proven studio to their ranks, but it usually doesn't happen with the speed or volume that Microsoft has been achieving this past year. The Xbox One has done fine this generation, but I think it's fair to say they've fallen behind the competition by a sound margin at this point. With the next generation expected to kick off within the next couple of years, all of these studio acquisitions show that Microsoft has learned from its mistakes and aims to correct them moving forward. We'll just have to wait to see if all of this foundation building pays off in the end.