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Microsoft Acquires Ninja Theory, Playground Games, Compulsion Games, and Undead Labs

Microsoft Acquires Ninja Theory, Playground Games, Compulsion Games, and Undead Labs
  • Forza Horizon, State of Decay, We Happy Few makers got acquired
  • New Microsoft studio will aim to help get more first-party games on Xbox
  • This may even be a way to increase the number of games on Game Pass

At its E3 2018 press conference, Microsoft announced that it has acquired five gaming studios. These studios are Undead Labs, Ninja Theory, Playground Games, and Compulsion Games. The acquisition of some studios such as Playground Games, which has been making the Forza Horizon series of Xbox and PC exclusive games, and Undead Labs (State of Decay) did not really come as a big surprise, but few could have anticipated the acquisition of some of the other studios. There's also a fifth studio in the mix, called The Initiative, which is based in Santa Monica. These five studios are Microsoft's way of reaffirming its commitment to first-party games. The lack of first-party titles has seen the Xbox One fall behind the pecking order among the consoles of this generation.

Ninja Theory is the studio behind the game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, while Compulsion Games is the one behind the horror game We Happy Few. These acquisitions give Microsoft the opportunity to bring some of the biggest Xbox game developers under its umbrella. However, it remains to be seen whether these acquisitions will be good for the studios in the long run.


It will definitely be interesting to see the direction in which these studios go in the future. At E3 2018, Microsoft made a big show of announcing that games will be coming to Xbox Game Pass, its subscription service that allows you access to a lot of games for a fixed monthly fee. While we aren’t big fans of Game Pass yet, acquiring these studios will almost certainly mean that all of their games will be available on Xbox Game Pass.

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Further reading: Microsoft, E3 2018, Xbox
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