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Microsoft acquires 5 game studios to sharpen game development power

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-06-11 15:03
Artificial intelligence software is demonstrated at a Microsoft booth during the China National Computer Congress 2017 in Fuzhou, East China's Fujian province. [Photo by Zheng Shuai/For China Daily]

SAN FRANCISCO - US software giant Microsoft announced Sunday the acquisition of five game studios to bolster the development of its original gaming content for its Xbox One console.

By adding "five new creative teams" to the Microsoft Studios family, "new investments include the formation of a brand-new studio, The Initiative, the acquisition of Playground Games, and letters of intent to acquire Ninja Theory, Undead Labs and Compulsion Games," Microsoft said in a statement.

The UK-based Playground Games, which is the developer behind the Forza racing series, has been a long-time Xbox partner since 2010 and is working on this year's "Forza Horizon 4," said Microsoft.

"Playground Games will have a team dedicated to bringing their open-world expertise to an entirely new project," it said.

"There has never been a more exciting time to be part of the gaming industry, with creators large and small showcasing incredible new games for the more than two billion players around the world," Phil Spencer, head of Gaming at Microsoft, said Sunday at an Xbox briefing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2018 (E3 2018) held in Los Angeles.

E3 2018 officially opens next Tuesday, but many large game publishers and hardware makers including Microsoft are holding preshow events.

Microsoft showcased a record 52 games at the E3 event including 18 console launch exclusives and 15 world premieres.

The lineup included games for every type of player, from exclusives like "Forza Horizon 4," "Halo Infinite" and "Gears 5," and independent titles like "Session," "Below," "Ashen" and "Tunic."

Spencer said the company's E3 lineup is its "most diverse gaming portfolio in every measure."

Microsoft said it will launch some of the biggest blockbuster games next year and take full advantage of the power of Xbox One, such as "Fallout 76," "Kingdom Hearts 3," "Devil May Cry 5," "Battlefield V," "Metro Exodus" and "Shadow of the Tomb Raider."

The other three game studios to be bought by Microsoft are Ninja Theory of Cambridge, Britain, which developed "Hellblade," Undead Labs based in Seattle of the US Washington state, which created the popular "State of Decay" title, and Compulsion Games of Montreal, Canada, which is working on its new title "We Happy Few", to be released later this year.

After the acquisitions are complete, Microsoft will have 11 game development studios.

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