Xbox boss Phil Spencer affirmed his belief that studio acquisitions are a "natural and healthy" part of the games industry in a recent interview.
Speaking with IGN (opens in new tab), Spencer commented on his vision for Xbox's games portfolio and how acquisitions factor into that plan. He highlighted "family-friendly content" as one area where Xbox still has room to grow, and stressed that Xbox will "continue to grow our first-party capabilities." Naturally, studio acquisitions will be a part of that growth.
"Sometimes I see dialogue out in the industry about, 'Well, are acquisitions a good thing or a bad thing?'" Spencer says. "I saw Sony just announced a couple acquisitions, and saying congrats to those teams on that," he adds, referring to the news of Returnal developer Housemarque joining PlayStation Studios (and potentially Bluepoint Games as well, if a promo image from PlayStation Japan is accurate)
"And I understand some of the sentiment from the community when acquisitions happen, but one thing I'll put out there is that 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 studio, building that over years, building value in that, to say that they shouldn't sell I think is just short-sighted."
Spencer was quick to add that "it doesn't mean every team has to end up selling their studio, but described the "cycle" of new studios growing to a point that they can find success, whether through an acquisition or independence, as a "natural and healthy part of our industry."
This mirrors the stance Xbox has taken since its landmark acquisition of Bethesda last year. Earlier this month, Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty affirmed that the company "will continue to look for studios that can add great people, great teams, and great new ideas to our lineup."
Unsurprisingly, Xbox's acquisition record spawned a few rumors, many of which were quickly disproven. In September, Bungie shut down rumors that it was joining Microsoft (after splitting from the company in the early Halo years). In November, Spencer himself debunked reports of a "small to big" Japanese studio joining Xbox, though he has previously expressed interest in improving Xbox's presence in Japan and bringing more Japanese games to the platform.
In the same interview, Spencer said that Halo Infinite won't make or break the Halo franchise, which "will be here 10 years from now."