Microsoft Studios’ Matt Booty has has been speaking to GamesIndustry.biz and explained why the software giant bought Hellblade developer Ninja Theory, a move that met with praise and condemnation depending on which console critics owned.
Matt explains that Microsoft’s recent spending spree on studios was to help with the diversity of games that would be on the Games Pass subscription service.
“We started looking at studios that are built around creative leads and people. An amazing thing about Ninja Theory is that it is very clear that the studio orbits around ideas and creativity, and the characters, storytelling and settings really come first for them. That just meshes really well with our desire to provide our players, especially those in Game Pass, with content that is new, unique, has variety and sits outside of the stuff we are doing with our bigger franchises.”
During the entire interview Matt only refers to Games Pass rather than Xbox One, it does seem Microsoft think their subscription service is the way forward rather than traditional physical copies on shelves. He also hints that Microsoft’s cheque book is ready and they are looking at other studios to purchase.
“I don’t want to seem like we’re going out to fill a quota,” he says. “It’s not about filling a spreadsheet by any means. We will, however, have an interest in studios right now that fit this criteria of 50 to 100 people, who are making games on a two to three year cadence, and have content that we think will be of interest to our Game Pass subscribers. That means content that is a little different to what our big AAA franchises can deliver. One of the fantastic things about Game Pass is that it can support different kinds of content.”
Microsoft exclusives have traditionally been shooters and racing games whilst PlayStation has always had broader range of games, from God of War to Heavy Rain to Journey. It does sound like Microsoft are trying to broaden the appeal of their games, but only time will tell.