Microsoft acquires studios InXile Entertainment and Obsidian Entertainment (RPGs Galore!)

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by BRiT, Nov 10, 2018.

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  1. BRiT

    BRiT (╯°□°)╯
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    Microsoft acquires studios InXile Entertainment and Obsidian Entertainment.



    InXile Entertainment is known for Wastelands and Bard's Tale

    Obsidian Entertainment is known for Knights of the Old Republic 2, Fallout New Vegas, Alpha Protocol, and Sourth Park: Strick of Truth.
     
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  2. Silent_Buddha

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    WHOA! They are going hard on RPG devs.

    Also interesting is that while both of them do publish their games on console they are both PC first developers. Also, both have been heavily reliant on Crowdfunding to fund their games and have both been very successful at releasing crowd funded games and supporting them after launch (signs of good developers that care about their players).

    For example, the recent The Bards Tale IV by InXile was a bit of a mess at launch but is pretty solid now and a great game.

    Also, both are known for crafting good to great storylines (especially Obsidian), so this could signal a large focus on story driven content for MS.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  3. BRiT

    BRiT (╯°□°)╯
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    Xbox Wire has their full article up here: https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2018/11/10/obsidian-inxile-join-microsoft-studios/

    Obsidian Entertainment was founded in 2003 in Irvine, Calif. by industry veterans from Black Isle Studios, led by Feargus Urquhart. The studio quickly made a name for itself with the Xbox exclusive Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. Over the last fifteen years, they have delivered genre-defining RPGs to players on both console and PC through titles including Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and Pillars of Eternity.

    inXile Entertainment is a team of industry veterans with decades of PC and RPG expertise. Led by Interplay founder Brian Fargo, inXile’s two development teams in Newport Beach, Calif. and New Orleans excel at creating vast worlds for players to explore with titles such as Wasteland 2, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Bard’s Tale IV and the upcoming Wasteland 3.
     
  4. Silent_Buddha

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    Now, I just hope Microsoft lets them continue to do what they do best. Make fantastic RPGs.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  5. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    yea I recall Phil stating that he was targeting AA studios and not AAA studios.
    He's been fairly consistent here. I guess the idea is that they can grow to become AAA studios over time, but he prefers to get them young and mature into that.
     
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  6. eastmen

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    Ready made teams capable of making solid if not amazing games will only serve to fill out MS's offerings. MS had a solid start to this generation in regards to the scope of exclusive titles. but fell off towards the end. For the next Xbox if they can have 4 or 5 exclusives a year (exclusive to pc/ Xbox) it would put them on par with Sony and Nintendo offerings. If some of those become triple a titles then that's even better.

    I've heard they are looking at buying another 2-3 studios , would be nice if true for Xbox fans
     
  7. cheapchips

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    This is the sort of thing that helps them fill out Game Pass as well.
     
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  8. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    They're really doubling down on devs known for isometric 3D turn-based RPGs. I'm looking forward to Wasteland 3 but I assume I won't be playing that on macOS now. :-(
     
  9. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    I think this is a big driver behind the studio expansion as well. It's analogous to what Netflix has done.

    And long-term, when the streaming component matures, these games should be playable on every major hardware platform save those that actively restrict you from using MS's services. Pretty big paradigm shift there.
     
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  10. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Thinking about it, is that really what's best for MS? If they make games that you can play on any OS and any device, that turns MS into a games publisher; an EA or Ubisoft. That in turn loses those games as a sales driver for MS OSes and devices. Basically giving away one of their best drivers for selling their wider ecosystem.

    I know some think that's the future for MS, but, if so, it's something of an acknowledgement of defeat?? "We're going to keep losing market share for Windows to Mac, iOS and Android. We can't compete with consoles. Let's just sell games to everyone." As a paradigm shift with lots of long-term subscriptions though, that might be the better option.
     
  11. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    Markets change, goals change. I'm not sure if that's an acknowledgement of defeat, or they are looking to gain cost advantage in an area that fits their organization better. While I agree there is some difference between the population of a platform and a subscriber base. Companies looking to get onto the platform will still be looking at the size of that number. If the number expands greatly by decoupling hardware from the software, then you've effectively made a new platform. One that isn't bound by selling hardware. But just bound by how many people will subscribe. That doesn't make Xbox irrelevant though, it just a second platform that MS now owns in addition to its console platform.
     
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  12. eastmen

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    They can always push the xbox / pc as the best way to play while the other platforms get a lesser version of the game. So PC would have the best looking graphics while whatever is the top of the line xbox gets the next best looking version and platforms its streaming on will get less than that. It seems like that is what will happen anyway with local vs streaming tech. MS would make the most on the pc/ xbox and less on other companies devices.
     
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  13. Shifty Geezer

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    Sure. But MS, a maker of the world's numero uno operating system, to stop trying to promote their OS through exclusives, would be a shift away from what they were trying to do before, which can be phrased as a defeat of that original plan. Not trying to make MS out to be losers or anything, but I'm hesitant to accept that MS will go platform independent with their services while they are a still a decent USP. Xbox Play Anywhere is all about growing the ecosystem, and it does a good job of selling that IMO. Leave Xbox Streaming to cater for those who aren't willing to buy into the Windows universe, hook them with your exclusives, and sell them an OS that improves on the experience of playing those exclusives. Get a bit of money from those who won't budge, like iOS users who'll never buy a Windows tablet, while coaxing over those who can be coaxed like console gamers.

    The extrapolated end to that though, to me, seems like the shrinking of Windows until perhaps one day MS doesn't even do Windows, potentially. Run your MS Office and Xbox games on your Mac or Google Something. That'd probably result in more money for MS than selling the OS, but there's no denying the change would be absolutely epic in the computing space. I'm not sure MS are willing to enter that possibility yet, and so I don't know that they can be looking at XB as being platform agnostic. Gaming is still their best driver for consumer PCs.
     
  14. iroboto

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    If this is defeat, then, from what I understand you may be correct in your statement. Without embellishing details, or being hyperbolic, as I understand it the Windows team is no longer structured the same way it used to be, since about 12+ months ago. I can't elaborate on details because it could be wrong, and thus I'm peddling misinformation, but I don't think the product team for windows exists the same way it used to.
    It could very well be less of a priority now, and balance sheet wise, is fundamentally not a big driver of their revenue growth.

    I think where MS is headed is that they will provide platforms as a baseline to support the real money makers, in this case, the content/application/services that people actually want to pay for.

    No one cares about the OS anymore. As long as it works, it's not really a desired component of any system, the applications/content/services are. And I think to this end, consoles and windows are similar in that regard. You really just want to play the game, or use the application. I'm overly simplifying it here, but removal of themselves as the middle man, will net some losses surely, on the platform side, but the gains on the content/application/service/streaming side are considerably more significant.
     
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  15. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    that being said however: I suspect windows is not going away, windows is likely going through its main transformation of operating in the continuum space.
     
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  16. Silent_Buddha

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    Not quite publisher. More similar to a storefront.

    If they make ALL publisher's (except Sony and Nintendo exclusive) games available on ALL platforms (except those that explicitly prohibit it) via streaming then they become a storefront for games on all platforms.

    That's a pretty radical step. Currently console gaming from a hardware manufacturer perspective is basically all about having a monopoly on games sold on your platform. IE - you, as the platform holder are the ONLY store on that platform. But at the same time you are limited to only your platform.

    If this is the direction MS are going, then they are basically going from operating a store on their platform (Xbox and to a limited extent Windows) to operating a store on all platforms.

    I think that's pretty huge if they can succeed. I, however, am extremely doubtful that streaming, even hardware assisted via local rendering or local game logic, will be a compelling alternative for serious gamers. That said, the more casual gaming market which makes up a large portion of console gamers might find it good enough.

    Then the question becomes, can you offer a better game streaming experience than another company offering a game streaming service?

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  17. Shifty Geezer

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    MS don't have any advantage there though. I mean, Sony can game stream. So can Google. So could EA and Ubi I expect if they choose, though perhaps paying MS for the service backend. I suppose the idea is that exclusives aren't about pushing an ecosystem, but pushing a platform, like Amazon Prime vs Netflix vs Sky exclusive content. I don't really see anything in these acquisitions pointing to anything new though. Could just as readily result in Windows UWP exclusives to push the ecosystem, old skool. Doesn't really impact the steaming plan as that will just work with whatever resources are available. Studio acquisitions helps sell either ecosystems or streaming platforms.
     
  18. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    The advantage MS has in this area is that they have everything in-house. They own the cloud infrastructure, they make the development tools, they have platforms on which they can place these services front-and-center, they are gradually building out their capacity to create their own content, they have industry relationships they can leverage to make deals to get 3rd party content onto their service (release your game on game pass and get a more favorable royalty rate on your digital and physical standalone release, get a comarketing deal, or both) and last but not least they have the Xbox brand.

    Also, these content deals don't exclusively benefit Game Pass and/or their future streaming platform, but they have a relatively larger benefit to those initiatives.
     
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  19. Cyan

    Cyan orange
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    hope they give them creative freedom



    edit: wow, Megan Starks...she is sooooooo gorgeous
     
    #19 Cyan, Nov 11, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
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  20. Silent_Buddha

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    TL: DR for why they joined MS.
    • It's getting harder and harder to make games, especially funding them.
      • Has been something they've been battling for the past 15 years, but it gets harder every year.
    • Now they don't have to worry about trying to fund their games
      • Focus more on just creating games
    • Leverage MS resources other than money.
      • Go to MS for people specialized in doing X thing whether game related, tools related, business related, expertise related (infrastructure, Machine Learning, other stuff), etc. rather than finding them themselves
    • Want to expand what an RPG is.
      • Without having to worry as much about funding, it allows them to potentially experiment with game mechanics and narrative more.
      • IE - don't have to necessarily follow a formula in order to maximize return on investment.
    • Biggest thing stressed to MS is that if they change the culture of Obsidian, then Obsidian ceases to be Obsidian, and MS agrees.
    Lots more interesting stuff in there, but that seems to be the major points that impacted their decision to no longer be an independent developer.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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