The State of Xbox’s First Party Studios – 2020 Edition

Player 2 takes a deep dive into Microsoft's first-party teams to see what is coming for 2020.

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GaboonViper1619d ago

Certainly in a much better place, I still personally don't think they compare to Sonys stable of teams but still a massive step in the right direction.

SyntheticForm1619d ago

Oh they're a ways away from reaching Sony's top tier, but they're building up their studios and that's of course a good thing.

Looking forward to the future with both PlayStation and Xbox.

RosweeSon1619d ago

Me too except with Nintendo and Sony I’ve not written Xbox off and I’ll always have time for great consoles and top games but they’ve relied on services subscriptions and Xbox 360 games (I had a 360 for 9 years I’m good for 360 games) I wanted new next gem experiences not BC added midway through a gen as crackdown3 was still MIA and turned out to be a pile of shite. I’m glad I’d jumped ship by then 4 months was enough to blast the exclusives sunset overdrive halo collection gears 4 Quantum break and Forza horizon 3 all pretty decent my favourite... rare replay (blast corps 😍🙌🏻 29299;😜✌🏻) but that’s how bad it’s been on Xbox this gen that some of their best exclusives? Are old N64 games... so hardly exclusive still cool tho but hardly worth buying an all powerful X to play N64 games. Not a single game has gone all out on X so it’s wasted power and pointless edition to their offering this gen. They re released an awful controller that got discontinued for a reason. Then released the best controller ever (should be for £130) except now there’s a 2.0 and now they’ve announced next generation plans to have a share button you can bet there’s a 3.0 being readied for next gen. £400 odd on 3 controllers 🧐🤦🏻‍♂️ 🥴😂😂
New studios always a good thing I’ll wait and see what they start producing first.. finished products not just early access beta video clips of games that could be decent.
That’s just me tho.

darthv721619d ago (Edited 1619d ago )

The state is way better heading into next gen unlike where they were this gen. Buying studios is only part. The next part is keeping their nose out of things while the teams work their magic. Another helpful tidbit is for MS to not be stingy with the checkbook when it comes to letting these teams work. They need budgets they can work with and deliver the quality goods.

Sony doesnt seem to impose any sort of financial restrictions on their teams, unless they dont see the project progressing in a timely fashion. Then they will shift resources and members about to work on things that are in better development cycles to help them meet their goals. MS needs to follow the same process.

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The Wood1619d ago (Edited 1619d ago )

The management of studios and projects gets ignored by those who think the number of studios fixes all issues. Microsoft have always had studios. Their management of some of their studios and projects has to be called into question including their 3rd party ventures. Look at what they've released and cancelled this gen. They'll have even more studios to manage now so we'll see how they adapt. The acquisitions are positive. Lets see fruition before we laud or condemn.

Gazondaily1618d ago (Edited 1618d ago )

"Microsoft have always had studios."

What?? Have I entered into an alternative universe where MS werent being constantly raked through the coals for not having enough? They didnt mate and those few were working on their key titles.

"Lets see fruition before we laud or condemn."

Well we can go by some of the studios'past work. What's stopping us from praising the guys that made The Outer Worlds and Fallout New Vegas or Psychonauts or Hellblade?

I agree that the studios arent guaranteed to churn out quality games but it seems weird to tell everyone not to praise or condemn (why condemn lol) the studios when you have very recent examples of their work.

The Wood1618d ago (Edited 1618d ago )

No septic... They never had enough but the management of some of the few they did have was questionable. You're implying I should look at the track records of the studios but not the management?? Rare for example had hits then release SoT. Apparently crackdown was 'coming along fine' and look how that turned out. I don't know if ms were/are too hands on or too hands off. Adding numbers isn't some guarantee for real as sony have also felt that sting its just sony's ratio of successes vs failures is much better and maybe thats because they have more high calibre talent. Its about getting the right balance of talent and management that differs from studio to studio and project to project respectively.

rainslacker1618d ago (Edited 1618d ago )

EA owns 39 studios, and has God knows how many(or probably not God, but only EA), internal development teams under a conglomerate banner, not unlike how Sony has publication houses like Sony Japan which worked more like teams. Some of those studios pull a lot of the heavy lifting of the publisher....like DICE. There are some that only make one franchise....like the various EA sports studios.

How many on here would say that EA, despite having so many studios, is a consistent and high quality publisher of games? Honestly?

They certainly have their AAA games. They certainly have a decent amount of quality AAA games. They have plenty of mid-tier and indie games....some of them pretty good. But, does the quantity make the difference, or do we look at the quality? Do we even look at the overall quality of their releases, or the business practices surrounding EA and it's business acumen as a whole? But, when looked at objectively, taking the hate bias of EA out of the equation think about it honestly. How many of their games do we really care about as a whole, and how many do we focus on because they're big names we care about?

I don't believe MS is as bad as EA, which I know some may find hard to believe. But, my distaste for EA is due to what they try to do, not the product that they release....although product is a different issue.

EA has been delivering more or less consistently since I was a child. Almost 40 odd years. I may not like what they deliver because they aren't my kind of games. I may not like them because of how they conduct their business, or butcher productions to practice their business the way they see fit. But, at least I know where they stand, and what to expect from them.

MS, OTOH, has been all over the place since the first Xbox was discontinued. They've had their ups and downs. They've had stellar output, down to not even the bare minimum of output. They change their business paradigm with every new executive. They change their view of how to approach the industry with whatever goal MS proper wants to achieve. They sometimes have a clear and viable direction, sometimes it seems they are just riding a tide that won't ever hit land, or that tide will hit like a destructive tsunami.

MS is inconsistent, and it baffles me that people would put faith in them doing well for the future before they proved they will deliver.

Buying studios is step one of a multi-year process. It is not the shining beacon of light that means all is well. It is not an indicator that they have learned all the lessons that it takes to be what people expect from a console maker, just shows that maybe they recognize what people expect from them to be more successful. Whether they heed that understanding and execute it though remains to be seen.

With MS, prudence is always wise, because while all may seem brighter today, it doesn't mean tomorrow will be the same. In the mean time, people are giving MS more credit than they give EA for what EA does....all because of the number of studios they have....yet MS studios, as owned by MS long enough for MS to have made a difference in what those studios deliver....are given more credit towards MS, than the whole of EA which has a proven track record for delivering....again, when looked at objectively without the EA company bias.

I think MS studios in the past, in general deliver good games. Rarely do I say they're bad. MS problem has always been consistency in delivery, and they have yet to prove they've changed that to warrant such faith. Optimism yes, vehement adulation, not even close.

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darthv721618d ago (Edited 1618d ago )

Hey wood... do you know the story behind sea of thieves? It turns out it was a game they wanted to make long before they got tasked with doing avatar stuff for kinect. The head of xbox (then) told them to shelve it and work on kinect but it was Spencer who said if you guys are ready... go for it. And they made the game they wanted to make. And keep adding to it because it is an always evolving game that they arent running out of ideas for.

You can call it what you want but this is an example of MS actually letting the dev decide what they want to make and how to handle it to get the most from the team behind it. As for CD3, that was overly ambitious and at its core it still came to fruition but a key element (that they had no control over) was the cloudgene tech was bought by another company so they had to scale back on that aspect. But they still delivered a really fun experience in the core game.

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Zeref1618d ago (Edited 1618d ago )

You only need to look at Wasteland 3 to see the results of having access to MS funds.


darthv721618d ago

That is certainly much improved.

4kgk761619d ago (Edited 1619d ago )

Microsoft making baby step by buying studios is good but Sony Studios is still leagues a head of Microsoft going into next gen. all Sony have to do is show spider man 2 and the ps5 will sold millions of consoles. I’m interested in seeing both consoles direction but I’m more excited for PlayStation future over Xbox but things could change.

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pornflakes1618d ago Show
Godmars2901619d ago

Not where they should be given how long they've been in the industry.

NeoGamer2321619d ago

All of the studios acquired that were not associated with MS first party games before were highly independent studios funding games on their own. The only independent studio I know of that has made more progress then any of these studios in the past and present is CD Projekt Red.

Gazondaily1618d ago

I agree but they still created some real changes in it that left their opponents reeling and catching up at some stages in key areas such as online where they paved the path for others to follow. The next frontier seems to be the digital space as the landscape changes again.

Next gen they seem primed to really offer a fight whereas last gen they were limping from the very beginning.

Godmars2901618d ago

The size of their user base says different. That they had to open access, have technically abandoned if not de-prioritized their own hardware, while repeatedly trying t present it as the most powerful, says different. Not that their fan camp listens.

You can talk up all they've done on the infrastructure side all you want, but as far as games are concerned, they are creatively crippled. Have yet to show they've yet to realize let alone move towards fixing the issue.

Gazondaily1618d ago

Creatively crippled is massively overstating it. They are set to have a lot of variety courtesy of their buying spree. Just look at the studios and the variety of creative titles they have released.

"Have yet to show they've yet to realize let alone move towards fixing the issue."

How can you say that they haven't shown a move towards fixing the issue when they have taken one of if not the biggest step in doing so by acquiring a large number of studios in a completely unprecedented way?

Godmars2901618d ago

For a console company that's four going on five - or is that 3-4? - consoles in, that the one time they lead the industry was the strongest talk of the industry being dead, that any good will they had from that gen was ruined by policies with their next system and needed major effort to repair, much like major effort was needed to fix mistakes with their prior console, their one-time leading system, I would say "crippled" is a perfectly apt term.

"How can you say that they haven't shown a move towards fixing the issue when they have taken one of if not the biggest step in doing so by acquiring a large number of studios in a completely unprecedented way?"

When they've bought studios multiple times before only to falter to make games, when what they have made or commissioned is largely online multi, often fails to deliver graphically no matter how much graphics are promoted, then they've yet to even realize that they have a problem.

rainslacker1618d ago (Edited 1618d ago )


I think you are being unfair to the fan base of the Xbox.

MS has listened to people this gen. However, I can assume that it wasn't the fan boys on forums that MS was listening to to get their game together. The fan boys are the ones that said everything was great, the one's that defended every action or made excuses as if the criticisms didn't matter. The fans were the one's going to MS channels to ask and say the things they wanted.

The fan boys were in forums like this one reacting to the actions of MS, not telling MS what they needed to do to gain some respect. The fans were the one's holding the course, but being realistic and saying what would make the system better.

MS of course introduced things that were never asked for, or at least never made waves. The fans adopted it...assumedly, and some of those things have been great. The fan boys are the ones that blew those things out of proportion and used them as ways to say that MS was now going to dominate, or was becoming a beast.

Don't bring down fans because of the actions of fan boys. Our view of their fandom is limited to what we see here, or other forums, but I do know quite a few reasonable Xbox fans who still don't like what MS has done this gen, and can recognize that MS isn't as deserving of all the adulation and faith that a relative few would put forth on forums such as this one.

Truth be told, if you attributed all the actions of MS this gen to the fan boys and their apologetic statements they've made for years, one would have to wonder who exactly MS was listening to, because I never really saw any of the people who now praise MS actions, ever once say that is what they wanted before MS came out and said they had it, or were going to have it. Think about it. How many times have you seen some of the most vocal Xbox "fans" say that MS needed more studios before they actually brought some? But as soon as they did....MS was on the right course, and MS was listening to it's fans, despite most of that saying they needed more studios and games being from the opposing side of the console war for years prior, with those same people always claiming MS was just fine. How many disagrees have we, or other fans on the opposing side accumulated over the years when we stated something as simple as "MS doesn't have enough studios"?

Gazondaily1618d ago

You need to substantiate your points if your comment is going to hold any weight. MS bought studios multiple times before? Who, when and how is it in any way comparable to the scale of what has happened?

As you can see, rainslacker disagrees with you and he's hardly the biggest fan of Xbox.


That's a very long and convoluted way of saying 'bbut fanboys' and the general finger waving nature of it does little to add to the conversation (as one-sided as it is).

rainslacker1618d ago (Edited 1618d ago )


I wasn't trying to add much to the discussion, you two were having, but addressing God directly with a side observation.

I don't disagree with God, I disagree with his attributing his comment as fans of Xbox, as opposed to just calling out the fan boys for what they are. I'm not supporting you or Xbox with what you call me disagreeing, and if anything, calling out the behavior of yourself and others that behave such as yourself, and saying that you aren't representative of the overall Xbox fan base, which can be much more reasoned than trying to claim everything MS does is a win, or how it's indicative of something they've asked for so MS is all about the consumer.

Hope that is simpler for you to understand. Sorry if I tried to over-qualify to get my point across, but I believe the more reasonable and logical Xbox fan base has gone too unnoticed this gen in favor of the one's that allow a hundred articles about how MS is now dominating, or will soon dominate because of whatever they do. I read Xbox forums, and I see people make more salient arguments than "OMG....MS is so awesome, and -insert reason #XXXXX- is why they're going to rule the universe one day."

I'd just like to see a bit more of that kind of reasonable and logical discussion on here, because there are about 5-6 "Xbox fans" that are easily classified as fan boys, that 100% control the nature of the Xbox discussion around here. I don't mind optimism, but blind faith has gotten old.

MS has done some stuff that means they "listened" to their fans. The fan boys aren't the reason they did that, and if the fan boys were listened to, then MS would be in a worse off situation than they were at the start of the gen.

Luckily, as God indirectly implied, the market speaks louder than fan boys(on either side) in random forums on the net.

Godmars2901618d ago

Given that what I said has little if anything to do with Xbox fans, bit confused at what you replied to. If anything, user base size is about owners. The general market.

"Not that their fan camp listens" was about the blind spot shared with MS. Largely for often getting what they want which is online co-op, 3rd party and occasionally a bit of exclusivity for bragging rights over their PS counterparts.

But my main point is that MS is the worst thing for the Xbox.

"You need to substantiate your points if your comment is going to hold any weight. MS bought studios multiple times before? Who, when and how is it in any way comparable to the scale of what has happened?"

You're asking for lists of bought, closed shuffled or left studios and games that never came out. Some of which were literally only "untitled game". Nevermind that you're asking this in defense of a list of coming Xbox games which include "untitled game".

Are you feeling any dejavu? Not even a little?

The 5 player co-op Fable which by all counts was finished only the always online policy tanking killed it overnight?

You're asking for something to work with--I need something to work with!

How many game support initiatives have they announced over the years?
Xbox 360 - 2-3?
XB1 - 2?

Gazondaily1617d ago (Edited 1617d ago )

You mention Milo and Fable? Two of Lionheads failed endeavours then Scalebound?

So basically..one studio??

Yeah when you go into the details, as expected, there is little to no substance in the points you made.


"I'd just like to see a bit more of that kind of reasonable and logical discussion on here,"

Are you capable of having that kind of discussion because what you have evidenced here? Ad hominem attacks loosely dressed up in poorly thought out and frankly pointless comments not adding to the kind of reasonable and logical discussion you allude to arent fooling anyone mate.

Godmars2901617d ago

You say "strawman" yet you're asking for evidence to counter the validity of something that has yet to happen. Namely MS following through on a new commitment to make games when they have made such commitments prior and failed to live up to them.

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