A notable video game industry insider believes that Xbox may be testing the waters with multiple development studios at the moment in the pursuit of new purchases in the future. Currently, Xbox and Microsoft are working with a handful of outside developers on projects, some of which haven't been announced. Rather than simply collaborating on these single games and ending the relationship there, though, Microsoft might be using these titles as a way to vet whether or not they'd like to purchase these companies outright in the future.
This theory comes by way of video game reporter Jeff Grubb, who shared the specifics of this idea in a recent episode of his show Grubbsnax which comes by way of Giant Bomb. At this point in time, Xbox has openly announced that it is collaborating with both Crystal Dynamics on Perfect Dark while developer Avalanche Studios is creating a new title called Contraband that will be published under the Xbox Game Studios banner. In addition, IO Interactive, which is the company behind the Hitman franchise, is rumored to be working on a title with Xbox as well. Grubb believes that these instances could be ones where Xbox is looking to buy each of these studios in the future, assuming that the collaboration between the two parties goes well.
Grubb said that part of the reason why he thinks Xbox would opt to go down this route at the moment is because Microsoft now wants to make "smart purchases." Specifically, what he means by this is that Microsoft wants to find other studios that naturally work well with the team at Xbox. Rather than outright buying a number of studios and slowly integrating them within Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft would prefer to find companies that it thinks could make the transition to join the Xbox "family" that much more easily.
Of course, the caveat with at least one studio in question, Crystal Dynamics, is that it is currently owned by Square Enix. However, given how much money Microsoft has to offer Square if negotiations were to come about, it stands to reason that Xbox could buy the studio away from the third-party publisher if the opportunity arose.
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