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Microsoft Just Bought ZeniMax Media (id Software, Bethesda, etc.)

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
^That's biased, and shows you're actually ignoring history and simply focusing on their mistakes from the beginning of this generation (of which yes, there were many) instead of their actual, overall history.
I'm not biased at all -- the objective truth is that most of the biggest game studio acquisitions that MS has made over the last two decades have failed, died, or left MS.

Their entire sports division died, Rare is now essentially dead, Bungie went from one of the most beloved studios in gaming to... Destiny.. And then eventually left Microsoft completely. Microsoft took the Halo franchise froim them and now we have.. Halo: Infinite. The Lionhead acquisition did not go well. The Twisted Pixel acquisition also did not go well, and they left. Digital Anvil was dissolved and there was no sequel to Freelancer. Microsoft is a place where companies go to die.

The number of notable studios that have stayed with MS and are actually better off in 2020 than when they were acquired is very, very small. Not saying that they don't exist, but they are dwarfed by the many, many cautionary tales.
 
They didn't have a sports division for long as they favoured EA. They didn't do much with Rare, true, and their management at the time had them focus on Kinect stuff that no one wanted, but have slowly been bringing them back.

Bungie did Destiny after they left Microsoft, not before, when they partnered exclusively with Activision. Halo 5: Guardians and Halo Wars 2 are great. Halo: Infinite isn't out yet, so you can't properly judge it yet.

Lionhead was already in trouble when Microsoft acquired them, releasing flop games. Microsoft bailed them out and generally still let them do their own thing. Fable II was great, but after that they fell apart, Molyneaux left, and Microsoft finally nixed them.

I don't believe it was ever said why Twisted Pixel went independent again, but they haven't done much since.

Microsoft has supported PC gaming on their Windows platform since the '80's, they pioneered console online gaming as we know it, and they have three franchises that are in the highest grossing gaming franchises in the world, add four more to that with this acquisition. Sony has four, one of those being the Spider-Man franchise.

I'm sorry, to say they have an overall bad history with gaming is biased.
 

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
Bungie did Destiny after they left Microsoft, not before, when they partnered exclusively with Activision. Halo 5: Guardians and Halo Wars 2 are great. Halo: Infinite isn't out yet, so you can't properly judge it yet.
That's because Microsoft owned the rights to the Halo franchise after Bungie split, so they decided to do something else of their own.

And although Halo: Infinite isn't out yet, they definitely botched the reveal, and it's not surrounded by the kind of enthusiasm you'd expect for a new Halo game, especially one leading off a new console generation. It seems like they are rehashing the past rather than doing something new.
 
No. Bungie wanted to do a new IP instead of Halo (understandable since they'd been working on the franchise for over a decade), and they partnered with Activision to do it as Microsoft (also understandably) wanted them to keep doing Halo.

Perhaps, but keep in mind, Sony's botched reveals in their day to. So has Blizzard Entertainment, and a host of other large, successful companies.

They're definitely going for a nostalgia feel, both in terms of environment and art design, which is something the fan base has actually been asking for for half a decade now. The game is also going to be more open world as opposed to linear missions, which is something not properly done in the franchise before (Halo 3: ODST's HUB system is the closest we've seen to this).

Joseph Statton is also back working on the franchise for the first time in a very long time, which further adds promise.
 

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
Perhaps, but keep in mind, Sony's botched reveals in their day to. So has Blizzard Entertainment, and a host of other large, successful companies.
Yeah, I'm not really looking at this in a "vs. Sony" light. I've owned consoles from Nintendo, Sega, Microsoft, Sony, etc., and I play PC games, so I don't have a hat in any particular ring. Every publisher definitely has their flaws.

However, Microsoft's track record with acquisitions is objectively not good. Yes, every company makes mistakes, but MS either loses their most prominent acquisitions or they simply die. The couple of successes are far outnumberd by the failures, or studios who simply left.

It's possible that they can turn over a new leaf, as they're making new acquisitions at a rapid clip in the last two years especially. But I'm just saying that over time, the history on this definitely doesn't indicate in their favor.
 
Yeah, I'm not really looking at this in a "vs. Sony" light. I've owned consoles from Nintendo, Sega, Microsoft, Sony, etc., and I play PC games, so I don't have a hat in any particular ring. Every publisher definitely has their flaws.

However, Microsoft's track record with acquisitions is objectively not good. Yes, every company makes mistakes, but MS either loses their most prominent acquisitions or they simply die. The couple of successes are far outnumberd by the failures, or studios who simply left.

It's possible that they can turn over a new leaf, as they're making new acquisitions at a rapid clip in the last two years especially. But I'm just saying that over time, the history on this definitely doesn't indicate in their favor.
I never said you were. I sited them as the common console competitor people compare them to, and also listed Blizzard as another hugely successful, and mostly PC/Mac, company. I could also name EA, 2K, etc. but kept it simple.

And overall, we'll see and time will tell. These are major, major franchises they've picked up, not indie/XBLA games, or studios that made top games of yesteryear, or more experimental non-mainstream titles.

I'd be very, very surprised if Microsoft let them die.
 

Ilthuain

Lost in a labyrinth of egoism
Microsoft doesn't have a good history with gaming.
That's not really accurate.

Turn 10, Playground Games, The Coalition, InXile, Obsidian... all of these studios are still producing great work.

Even Rare is looking pretty good now. The launch of Sea of Thieves was rocky, but it's a pretty cool game now.

Some of their more famous failures, like Digital Anvil, had serious problems prior to the buyout. I don't know if you've been following Chris Roberts' career lately, but having him as a studio head comes with its own... issues.

Anyway, even if we could pin studio failure on MS mismanagement, their games division is quite a bit different now than it was 10-15 years ago.
 

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
That's not really accurate.

Turn 10, Playground Games, The Coalition, InXile, Obsidian... all of these studios are still producing great work.

Even Rare is looking pretty good now. The launch of Sea of Thieves was rocky, but it's a pretty cool game now.

Some of their more famous failures, like Digital Anvil, had serious problems prior to the buyout. I don't know if you've been following Chris Roberts' career lately, but having him as a studio head comes with its own... issues.

Anyway, even if we could pin studio failure on MS mismanagement, their games division is quite a bit different now than it was 10-15 years ago.
Turn 10 is not an acquisition. They were founded under Microsoft as a first-party subsidiary, so that's not what we're talking about.

Playground games, Obsidian, etc. were acquired less than two years ago, so there's not enough of a track record there to view them in light of this discussion. And if you'd looked at most of the acquisitions I mentioned in the first year and a half, things seemed far more promising then in most cases.

Rare has had a string of high-profile failures under Microsoft. The Ghoulies game, the Conker game, the Banjo-Kazooie game.. They basically tanked their major IPs under MS' leadership. Then MS turned them into a Kinect studio, and they released stuff like.. Kinect Sport Rivals.. Yeah. And then the employees that were responsible for the Rare we all know and love split from the studio after MS' fairly disastrous leadership, so that name currently means little as far as what the classic 'Rare' company was. Sea of Thieves is definitely a hit, but one good game doesn't quite make up for the years worth of failures that essentially killed the Rare we know and their most beloved franchises.

Again, I'm not saying that MS has never had a successful acquisition of a popular studio -- but if you look at the overall track record of their last two decades of acquisitions, there are far more misses than hits, and that's indisputable.
 
Again, I'm not saying that MS has never had a successful acquisition of a popular studio -- but if you look at the overall track record of their last two decades of acquisitions, there are far more misses than hits, and that's indisputable.
Except it is quite disputable.

Here's the list of current and former subsidiaries.

Everything to do with Kinect was either closed or reassigned, which makes sense since it's a defunct tech platform that they put a lot of money in, pushed hard, and then finally (and thankfully) abandoned. Rare was a part of that ultimately, and I agree they misused Rare for a long time, but they seem to be correcting that. Sea of Thieves isn't my thing, but it's doing well.

Outside of that thought, look at the big names of acquired studios: Double Fine, Mojang, Ninja Theory, Obsidian, ZeniMax, Bungie, Ensemble, and Lionhead Studios. I never considered Twisted Pixel a major player since they only made XBLA type of games, not triple A stuff.

Mojang is doing phenomenal for them. More recent acquisitions like Double Fine, Obsidian, ZeniMax, and Ninja Theory we'll need to wait and see, but there's certainly potential and promise there.

Bungie, as discussed, went independent again because they wanted to do something other than Halo. Under Microsoft, that's all they did and their Halo games were fantastic. Destiny was never with or under Microsoft. Bungie declined after leaving Microsoft, not with them.

Ensemble Studios had several years of excellent games and success under Microsoft. I'm not sure why they were closed though.

Lionhead, as discussed, had problems and were bailed out by Microsoft. They did one great game under them, and then struggled and continued to have internal issues, the roots of which seem to predate Microsoft.

So of all the major studios that "went there to die," Rare is the only one that truly suffered under Microsoft's leadership, but they seem to be rebounding as Microsoft has improved in it's leadership and direction.
 

ItsYaBoi

Noob
Not a fan of monopolies, and buying up a massive company who own a huge swathe of IP’s in one swift move is leaning towards trying to monopolise. Phil essentially said this with his “wanting 2 billion people on game pass eventually” comment.

I don’t want Xbox to become the Disney of the gaming world tbh. The only people who will celebrate this are - let’s be honest - Xbox fanboys or people who have money invested in MS. In no major way does this make a difference to the consumer, even those who only game on Xbox. Bethesda games (minus Deathloop) were always going to be multi platform, so Xbox gamers would have been able to play them with or without this acquisition. Sure, they’re on game pass day one now but that’s alongside the anti consumer move of potentially making these pre-existing major IP’s Xbox exclusive (console wise that is, they’ll still be on PC). This cheerleading of massive corporations needs to stop.
 

Ilthuain

Lost in a labyrinth of egoism
...Rare has had a string of high-profile failures under Microsoft. The Ghoulies game, the Conker game, the Banjo-Kazooie game.. They basically tanked their major IPs under MS' leadership. Then MS turned them into a Kinect studio, and they released stuff like.. Kinect Sport Rivals.. Yeah. And then the employees that were responsible for the Rare we all know and love split from the studio after MS' fairly disastrous leadership, so that name currently means little as far as what the classic 'Rare' company was. Sea of Thieves is definitely a hit, but one good game doesn't quite make up for the years worth of failures that essentially killed the Rare we know and their most beloved franchises.
You left out Viva Pinata, which was a success. Kinda creepy, but still a success.

Anyway, sure, there were mistakes in there, but why should that be hung on MS's ownership rather than issues internal to Rare? Do you think that there was juice left in the N64-style collect-a-thon genre? Would Grabbed by the Ghoulies have been better if another conglomerate owned Rare at the time it was designed? Was "Yooka-Laylee" the type of game they should've been producing the whole time?

There were a ton of changes in the game industry in the early 2000s. Rare made games in genres that were falling out of style. They tried to make some new products and some new IPs, and a lot of them failed. I don't see any evidence to suggest that these problems were caused solely by MS, because there have been other studios that have thrived under MS.

Anyway, time will tell what will become of the Zenimax studios. Since they're maintaining their own publishing arm, I assume the impact will be minor (at least for the next few years), other than the obvious strategic implications of platform exclusivity and Gamepass availability.
 

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
You left out Viva Pinata, which was a success. Kinda creepy, but still a success.

Anyway, sure, there were mistakes in there, but why should that be hung on MS's ownership rather than issues internal to Rare? Do you think that there was juice left in the N64-style collect-a-thon genre? Would Grabbed by the Ghoulies have been better if another conglomerate owned Rare at the time it was designed? Was "Yooka-Laylee" the type of game they should've been producing the whole time?

There were a ton of changes in the game industry in the early 2000s. Rare made games in genres that were falling out of style. They tried to make some new products and some new IPs, and a lot of them failed. I don't see any evidence to suggest that these problems were caused solely by MS, because there have been other studios that have thrived under MS.

Anyway, time will tell what will become of the Zenimax studios. Since they're maintaining their own publishing arm, I assume the impact will be minor (at least for the next few years), other than the obvious strategic implications of platform exclusivity and Gamepass availability.
Turning them into a Kinect studio didn't seem to fix any of those problems, though -- instead it made most of the people who were key to the studio quit.

If you're going to acquire a studio with the goal of reviving them or giving them the resources needed to cross into a new phase, that's not how you do it.

Lots of studios went through rough transitions, but the Kinect specifically was a big failure, and trying to force-convert Rare specifically into a Kinect studio was a brutal mistake.
 

Ilthuain

Lost in a labyrinth of egoism
Turning them into a Kinect studio didn't seem to fix any of those problems, though -- instead it made most of the people who were key to the studio quit.
A lot of key personnel already left, but yeah, I wouldn't stay at a Kinect-only studio either. Then again, the people that left went on to produce a "return to form" game in the form of Yooka-Laylee, which, for me at least, wasn't too exciting.

Really though, we don't know -why- they changed direction for the studio. It might've been Kinect-or-closure. They might've just not known what to do with it. Maybe the studio heads really wanted to make Yooka-Laylee and MS didn't believe in the project. Who knows?

Either way, they're doing well now, even after that dark time. Their new project, Everwild, looks cool.
 

STB Sgt Reed

Online Warrior
The best way to do it is buy a PS5 for the NRS title (if there is one), the better exclusives (lol what does MS even have? halo? that shit died 4 games ago. Though I guess now they have Fallout and Elder scrolls, both of which I love.), and your choice of digital only or disc without dropping specs to go digital only, AND then get game pass on pc for 15 a month and you get access to everything. Win/Win

That's what I'm gonna be doing since I already own game pass lol
 

Dankster Morgan

she don’t call me daddy she call me Grandmaster
Not a fan of monopolies, and buying up a massive company who own a huge swathe of IP’s in one swift move is leaning towards trying to monopolise. Phil essentially said this with his “wanting 2 billion people on game pass eventually” comment.

I don’t want Xbox to become the Disney of the gaming world tbh. The only people who will celebrate this are - let’s be honest - Xbox fanboys or people who have money invested in MS. In no major way does this make a difference to the consumer, even those who only game on Xbox. Bethesda games (minus Deathloop) were always going to be multi platform, so Xbox gamers would have been able to play them with or without this acquisition. Sure, they’re on game pass day one now but that’s alongside the anti consumer move of potentially making these pre-existing major IP’s Xbox exclusive (console wise that is, they’ll still be on PC). This cheerleading of massive corporations needs to stop.
I wouldn't consider this a monopoly, an oligopoly at worst vs. sony. It just might be more fair for MS if they pull this off haha
 
I don’t want Xbox to become the Disney of the gaming world tbh.
Interestingly, I had that thought earlier. They're pushing a subscription service model, and if they keep buying studios, they may become the "Disney" of gaming.

...but the Kinect specifically was a big failure...
This is absolutely correct. It was an excellent effort when it first launched, but didn't take on in a big way. Instead of making it "integral" for Xbox One, they should have kept it as an optional product.

While the franchise isn't what it was during the 2000's, it's still a solid franchise that is doing well.

Though I guess now they have Fallout and Elder scrolls,...
And DOOM, which is quite huge.

It just might be more fair for MS if they pull this off haha
As Ed Boon keeps tweeting, "they came to play."
 
That's because Microsoft owned the rights to the Halo franchise after Bungie split, so they decided to do something else of their own.
Bungie wasn't forced to leave Halo behind, they wanted to. They wanted to do something else, as they had been working on the Halo franchise since 1999. I completely understand that.

They left their partnership with Microsoft so they could pursue other IPs (i.e. Destiny).