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Phil Spencer Says Studio Acquisitions Are A Good Thing

Craig of War

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Apr 19, 2020
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“I know sometimes I see dialogue out in the industry about, well, are acquisitions a good thing or a bad thing,” says Spencer before congratulating Sony on their acquisition of Housemarque announced earlier today.

“One thing I’ll put out there is… starting a new studio — starting any small business, frankly, is a very risky proposition, starting a video game studio even more so. And if a team actually takes the risk of starting a new company, starting a new studio, building that over years, building value in that. To say they shouldn’t sell, I think, is just short-sighted.”

Spencer says that the value of growing a business to become something valuable is part of why creative teams start new studios in the first place. The immense risk it takes to start a new company is the potential reward that comes with it, and Spencer says “M&A is absolutely a part of that.”

Spencer clarified that not every new company has to sell and that there are a lot of studios that can fail. But successful teams growing and potentially getting acquired “is a natural and healthy part of our industry.”

“It’s such a risk-filled journey for them to get to the point to create real value. I’m always going to congratulate when teams get to the point where they realize that value through acquisition or just massive independent success… many of those leaders will go off and start other things over time. It’s kind of the natural turnover that happens with entrepreneurs and startup businesses. And for us, we’re always out there looking at where we could continue to build our first-party capability and looking at teams that we think would be good fits for us.”
 

TaiLopezFan

Member
Feb 5, 2021
98
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Xbox is always behind Playstation. Sony pushed the power narrative in 2013 then Microsoft started doing that in 2017. Sony pushed the subscription and cloud gaming narrative with PS Now in 2015 then Microsoft started doing that in 2018. Sony pushed the first party games narrative in 2018 now Microsoft pushing the first party games narrative in 2021. Now according to Jim Ryan they are working on bringing their huge IP’s to mobile market because mobile is the biggest cash cow in 2021 just ask Roblox or CoD/Activision. When PS games does come to mobile, I expect Xbox to follow suit after a few years late once again.
 

elliot5

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Apr 22, 2021
2,815
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440
Xbox is always behind Playstation. Sony pushed the power narrative in 2013 then Microsoft started doing that in 2017. Sony pushed the subscription and cloud gaming narrative with PS Now in 2015 then Microsoft started doing that in 2018. Sony pushed the first party games narrative in 2018 now Microsoft pushing the first party games narrative in 2021. Now according to Jim Ryan they are working on bringing their huge IP’s to mobile market because mobile is the biggest cash cow in 2021 just ask Roblox or CoD/Activision. When PS games does come to mobile, I expect Xbox to follow suit after a few years late once again.
Jim Carrey What GIF
 

RGB'D

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Jul 24, 2020
285
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Xbox is always behind Playstation. Sony pushed the power narrative in 2013 then Microsoft started doing that in 2017. Sony pushed the subscription and cloud gaming narrative with PS Now in 2015 then Microsoft started doing that in 2018. Sony pushed the first party games narrative in 2018 now Microsoft pushing the first party games narrative in 2021. Now according to Jim Ryan they are working on bringing their huge IP’s to mobile market because mobile is the biggest cash cow in 2021 just ask Roblox or CoD/Activision. When PS games does come to mobile, I expect Xbox to follow suit after a few years late once again.
 
Feb 27, 2021
470
373
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I agree the way that MS is doing the studio acquisitions is really good for the industry.

-They basically buy studio.
-Put their games on game pass
-Let them do whatever the fuck they want within limits

While not unlimited creative freedom it is enough for creative games for game pass in the future. Something the industry seriously needs.
 

Foorbits

Member
Nov 14, 2008
22,248
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I agree the way that MS is doing the studio acquisitions is really good for the industry.

-They basically buy studio.
-Put their games on game pass
-Let them do whatever the fuck they want within limits
For now… we are in the honeymoon phase of all this. Wait till some of these studios go over budget and underperform and/or Game Pass begins losing subs.
 

GHG

Member
Nov 9, 2006
26,498
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Yes, do all the hard work for us and sell your soul for a penny.

That's basically it in a nutshell. Shouldn't be shocked he's saying that though when he's worked for a big corporation his whole life.

You take on all the risk, you go through all the hard times and should you come out of it alive (but still tired, scarred and beaten up) we may or may not make you an offer.
 

01011001

Member
Dec 4, 2018
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Xbox is always behind Playstation. Sony pushed the power narrative in 2013 then Microsoft started doing that in 2017. Sony pushed the subscription and cloud gaming narrative with PS Now in 2015 then Microsoft started doing that in 2018. Sony pushed the first party games narrative in 2018 now Microsoft pushing the first party games narrative in 2021. Now according to Jim Ryan they are working on bringing their huge IP’s to mobile market because mobile is the biggest cash cow in 2021 just ask Roblox or CoD/Activision. When PS games does come to mobile, I expect Xbox to follow suit after a few years late once again.

is this bait? this can't be real...
 

peter42O

Member
Aug 9, 2014
4,427
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650
I agree 100% with Spencer. A company like an investor/shareholder wants to build as much value as possibly before cashing out. It's not hard to understand. Majority who dislike Microsoft's approach are well, simply full of shit because if it was Sony who acquired ZeniMax, not a single PlayStation fan would complain and even if they did, again, they're full of shit because it's not their favorite who acquired ZeniMax or any development studio/publisher for that matter.

Including Bluepoint Games, 50% of Sony's studios were acquired and four of them are in Sony's top five. Development studios sell for one simple reason - it's either that or close up shop as you file bankruptcy which no one is going to do because that makes literally no sense for not only those who own/run the company but in turn, would end up fucking over everyone else who works for them.

The best part is that during the entire Xbox One generation is that PlayStation fans bashed Microsoft for not having any studios or exclusives but now, that Microsoft is all in, PlayStation fans can't seem to accept that which is funny because they're the ones who asked for this to begin with. Like they say, be careful what you ask for, you may just get it.

For me personally, im super hyped to see who Microsoft acquires next because it's better for me. Sony can acquire studios as well like they did Housemarque (and Bluepoint) which is also great in general but I prefer Microsoft to be the company acquires studios because I can play all the future games for a $10 monthly rental as opposed to taking a chance on a game for $70. Nah, fuck that. If others want to do that, that's entirely up to them but not me. I prefer to spend less money while playing more games as opposed to spending more money while playing less games.

Come on Microsoft, go get WB Games and the entirety of DC. Let's go baby!!! Give me more!!! Whoooo!!!! :messenger_tears_of_joy: :messenger_tears_of_joy: :messenger_tears_of_joy:
 

Dave_at_Home

Member
Jun 19, 2020
1,258
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“I know sometimes I see dialogue out in the industry about, well, are acquisitions a good thing or a bad thing,” says Spencer before congratulating Sony on their acquisition of Housemarque announced earlier today.

“One thing I’ll put out there is… starting a new studio — starting any small business, frankly, is a very risky proposition, starting a video game studio even more so. And if a team actually takes the risk of starting a new company, starting a new studio, building that over years, building value in that. To say they shouldn’t sell, I think, is just short-sighted.”

Spencer says that the value of growing a business to become something valuable is part of why creative teams start new studios in the first place. The immense risk it takes to start a new company is the potential reward that comes with it, and Spencer says “M&A is absolutely a part of that.”

Spencer clarified that not every new company has to sell and that there are a lot of studios that can fail. But successful teams growing and potentially getting acquired “is a natural and healthy part of our industry.”

“It’s such a risk-filled journey for them to get to the point to create real value. I’m always going to congratulate when teams get to the point where they realize that value through acquisition or just massive independent success… many of those leaders will go off and start other things over time. It’s kind of the natural turnover that happens with entrepreneurs and startup businesses. And for us, we’re always out there looking at where we could continue to build our first-party capability and looking at teams that we think would be good fits for us.”
Expect more studio acquisitions in the future. I'd imagine those acquisitions will be dependent on the kind of games those studios wish to make. Probably the tent pole kind.

I think some people forget how much things have changed in this industry. Decades ago it was much easier to have a small team, and budget, to have success. When that success came, many studios grew into the behemoths of today. Of course there were many casualties along the way though. If your aim is to make a game that's gonna grab everyone's attention; you better have a combination of high quality talent and plenty of luck.
 
Feb 27, 2021
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For now… we are in the honeymoon phase of all this. Wait till some of these studios go over budget and underperform and/or Game Pass begins losing subs.

EH game pass will continuously grow because they are on PC. While hardcore gamers will just get gamepass for 3 dollars for a month when a game of their liking comes out, the average joe will stay on their sub. That is how they make their money. Its a good deal either way.

As for going over budget. MS never really had an issue with going over budget, it is more going over time. You need to show something for the time they invested in you, like not having a game up after 4 years like Kamiya did will get binned. Even if you have trash that is completed after 4 years MS will be relatively happy.
 

legacy24

Member
Feb 23, 2021
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Xbox is always behind Playstation. Sony pushed the power narrative in 2013 then Microsoft started doing that in 2017. Sony pushed the subscription and cloud gaming narrative with PS Now in 2015 then Microsoft started doing that in 2018. Sony pushed the first party games narrative in 2018 now Microsoft pushing the first party games narrative in 2021. Now according to Jim Ryan they are working on bringing their huge IP’s to mobile market because mobile is the biggest cash cow in 2021 just ask Roblox or CoD/Activision. When PS games does come to mobile, I expect Xbox to follow suit after a few years late once again.
Yeah Sony pushed full backwards compatibility. Oh wait..
 

Andodalf

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Oct 20, 2013
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Expect more studio acquisitions in the future. I'd imagine those acquisitions will be dependent on the kind of games those studios wish to make. Probably the tent pole kind.

I think some people forget how much things have changed in this industry. Decades ago it was much easier to have a small team, and budget, to have success. When that success came, many studios grew into the behemoths of today. Of course there were many casualties along the way though. If your aim is to make a game that's gonna grab everyone's attention; you better have a combination of high quality talent and plenty of luck.
Gamepass allows for the exact opposite of this, we can get smaller scale games like grounded and sea of themes and give them a place to find an audience guaranteed
 

Optimus Lime

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Dec 24, 2010
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I think that what Phil Spencer needs to understand that the kinds of people who lurk on forums in between hour-long hentai sessions while their parents are asleep become enraged at the thought that Xbox has no games, but then become equally enraged at the thought that Xbox has too many games.
 

Dabaus

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Apr 23, 2018
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Acquisitions are literally the only thing MS can do hype up their fan base at this point. It certainly isn’t games. CGI trailers and free to play halo is certainly not hyping me up any. Didn’t some influencer recently admit he got paid 350 dollars to promote gamespass? I mean the absolute state of this company and brand.

Edit: I also find it quite the coincidence that again, as soon as Sony gets some positive PR going here comes Phil with an interview with the same pitch hes been Saying for 5 years now followed by a smear job article about indies the next day. Yeah call me a tin foil hat wearing guy, don’t care.
 
Last edited:

Optimus Lime

Gold Member
Dec 24, 2010
1,369
2,591
1,035
Acquisitions are literally the only thing MS can do hype up their fan base at this point. It certainly isn’t games. CGI trailers and free to play halo is certainly not hyping me up any. Didn’t some influencer recently admit he got paid 350 dollars to promote gamespass? I mean the absolute state of this company and brand.

Edit: I also find it quite the coincidence that again, as soon as Sony gets some positive PR going here comes Phil with an interview with the same pitch hes been Saying for 5 years now followed by a smear job article about indies the next day. Yeah call me a tin foil hat wearing guy, don’t care.
You're right. It's all a conspiracy to destroy Sony using the unbeatable, ingenious strategy of 'amateur video game forum frequented by adolescent sociopaths and old people who should know better'. Truly Machiavellian. Thank god you're not one of the sheeple and you've seen through this ruse.
 

bitbydeath

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Nov 25, 2015
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The biggest loss is the IP’s but the owners can easily start over under a new company with the cash they made and then be re-bought 5-10 years later. It’s a pretty good deal.
 
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Apr 22, 2021
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Xbox is always behind Playstation. Sony pushed the power narrative in 2013 then Microsoft started doing that in 2017. Sony pushed the subscription and cloud gaming narrative with PS Now in 2015 then Microsoft started doing that in 2018. Sony pushed the first party games narrative in 2018 now Microsoft pushing the first party games narrative in 2021. Now according to Jim Ryan they are working on bringing their huge IP’s to mobile market because mobile is the biggest cash cow in 2021 just ask Roblox or CoD/Activision. When PS games does come to mobile, I expect Xbox to follow suit after a few years late once again.
This sarcastic???
 
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Mar 8, 2021
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Acquisitions are literally the only thing MS can do hype up their fan base at this point. It certainly isn’t games. CGI trailers and free to play halo is certainly not hyping me up any. Didn’t some influencer recently admit he got paid 350 dollars to promote gamespass? I mean the absolute state of this company and brand.

Edit: I also find it quite the coincidence that again, as soon as Sony gets some positive PR going here comes Phil with an interview with the same pitch hes been Saying for 5 years now followed by a smear job article about indies the next day. Yeah call me a tin foil hat wearing guy, don’t care.

Show us where on the doll Phil Spencer touched you, fyi just because you don't find any Xbox games interesting doesn't mean nobody does (or even a majority of people), most people had very positive thoughts on Xbox's E3 conference that featured *gasp* ZERO acquisitions, so maybe they were excited for the games?. The state of Xbox is the best it's ever been, and the brand is the best it's been since the peak 360 years, it just seems people like you either can't, or refuse to, accept that. Personally I'm more excited for the next few years of first party Xbox games than first party Sony games (blasphemy in this forum I know). Also a hard LOL at the fact you think either an Unlocked podcast interview or a small article on indies is going to reach the mainstream gamer in any significant way or make any real difference even if they saw it. If they were attempting a "smear job" they'd go way harder than that


I also find it kind of hilarious and ironic that the "positive PR" Sony had was AN ACQUISITION, which makes your first sentence even funnier
 
Apr 22, 2021
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Honestl
I agree the way that MS is doing the studio acquisitions is really good for the industry.

-They basically buy studio.
-Put their games on game pass
-Let them do whatever the fuck they want within limits

While not unlimited creative freedom it is enough for creative games for game pass in the future. Something the industry seriously needs.
Honestly speaking to some extent I agree. Competition is still needed but game pass has made me enjoy gaming more than ever. But no company operates at its best without competition so I do appreciate them putting most of their games on game pass. But a healthy Sony, Take Two, EA etc is needed for balance.
 
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The biggest loss is the IP’s but the owners can easily start over under a new company with the cash they made and then be re-bought 5-10 years later. It’s a pretty good deal.
Or they could stay under Microsoft/Sony and reap the benefits of way more resources and not having to worry about how their next game will be funded. Devs trying to make their dream game will probably have an easier time doing it with 1st party resources than as an indie dev, and none of the studios acquired in the past few years have had any large amount of departures yet so I don't see why we'd expect the notable people in these studios to immediately want out and go found another studio
 
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bitbydeath

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Or they could stay under Microsoft/Sony and reap the benefits of way more resources and not having to worry about how their next game will be funded. Devs trying to make their dream game will probably have an easier time doing it with 1st party resources than as an indie dev, and none of the studios acquired in the past few years have had any large amount of departures yet so I don't see why we'd expect the notable people in these studios to immediately want out and go found another studio
They could but if they want to treat it like the housing market, earning big bucks in the process, they can sell and move on.
 

ZehDon

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Jun 13, 2013
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*Man who buys studios says buying studios is a good thing*

I mean, what else is he gonna say?
"No, buying studios is a really bad move, has a lot of negative impacts. When you see Microsoft buying a studio? That's bad. Think bad things. Gamers shouldn't be happy about studio acquisitions. I mean, I'll say this - you've seen the Papa EA Meme, right? So, yeah, conversation over, really."
 
Nov 21, 2018
642
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Xbox is always behind Playstation. Sony pushed the power narrative in 2013 then Microsoft started doing that in 2017. Sony pushed the subscription and cloud gaming narrative with PS Now in 2015 then Microsoft started doing that in 2018. Sony pushed the first party games narrative in 2018 now Microsoft pushing the first party games narrative in 2021. Now according to Jim Ryan they are working on bringing their huge IP’s to mobile market because mobile is the biggest cash cow in 2021 just ask Roblox or CoD/Activision. When PS games does come to mobile, I expect Xbox to follow suit after a few years late once again.
 
Dec 29, 2018
5,104
15,232
765
Xbox is always behind Playstation. Sony pushed the power narrative in 2013 then Microsoft started doing that in 2017. Sony pushed the subscription and cloud gaming narrative with PS Now in 2015 then Microsoft started doing that in 2018. Sony pushed the first party games narrative in 2018 now Microsoft pushing the first party games narrative in 2021. Now according to Jim Ryan they are working on bringing their huge IP’s to mobile market because mobile is the biggest cash cow in 2021 just ask Roblox or CoD/Activision. When PS games does come to mobile, I expect Xbox to follow suit after a few years late once again.