Microsoft's E3 2018 briefing will likely remain memorable for the studio acquisitions announced at once. On that stage, Phil Spencer revealed that Playground Games, Undead Labs, Ninja Theory, Compulsion Games had been acquired by Microsoft, while a brand new studio (The Initiative) was being set up in Santa Monica. Later in 2018, Microsoft confirmed the acquisition of Obsidian and inXile, and last week Double Fine Productions also joined Xbox Game Studios as revealed on the E3 2019 briefing.
Speaking to GamesBeat after said E3 2019 briefing, Head of Xbox Game Studios Matthew Booty explains that the pace of first-party studio acquisitions has no defined schedule.
I’d say the pace of acquisition has more to do with the kinds of studios that we’re looking for and the fit, as opposed to, “Hey, we’re trying to get so many deals done per quarter.” That’s not how we’re going about it. It may be that we find some studios that fit the mold of what we’re looking for. Again, I feel supported such that if there were to be two of those that we were to find, and they were willing in the next couple months, we’d have the support to do that. But I don’t feel under pressure to go and fill a quota with those.
It all depends on the opportunities that present themselves at any given time, then. As far as rumors go, there have been whispers about Relic Entertainment as a potential opportunity for Microsoft. The Vancouver-based studio known for strategy games like Homeworld, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War and Company of Heroes is developing Age of Empires IV for Microsoft. In fact, just a few days ago Phil Spencer said Microsoft was incredibly impressed so far with Relic's work on Age of Empires IV, which should be finally unveiled later this year (possibly at Gamescom).
Relic is currently owned by SEGA, though, so Microsoft should knock to their doors first.