Whenever folks start speculating about who Microsoft might purchase next, one name is always top of the list – Asobo Studio. Microsoft has been snapping up everyone from Obsidian and Double Fine to Bethesda, and yet, the developer of the critically-acclaimed Microsoft Flight Simulator remains on the table. Why is that? Well, it seems it may be a simple case of Asobo not being interested in giving up their indepence.
Today, it was announced that Asobo has received new outside investment, selling a minority stake in the company to French private equity firm Sagard NewGen. According to Asobo this was specifically done in order to preserve their “creative autonomy.” Here’s what Asobo's CEO Sebastian Wloch had to say about the Sagard NewGen investment…
The Sagard NewGen team has been really enthusiastic, professional and flexible. Their ability to understand the specifics of our industry and to embrace the studio DNA definitely convinced us. We're proud to be supported by such a renowned firm, and we are confident this will be a fruitful partnership.
While anything can happen, it isn’t hard to read between the lines when Asobo talks about “creative autonomy.” It’s pretty clear they are not interested in being outright acquired by anybody at the moment. In addition to Microsoft Flight Simulator, Asobo also had a recent hit with A Plague Tale: Innocence, and it’s been announced they’re reteaming with publisher Focus Home Interactive on a new game. Seems like Asobo wants to continue with the story-driven stuff and not just become the Flight Sim guys.
Microsoft Flight Simulator is available now on PC, and is slated to hit Xbox Series X/S sometime in 2021. An Xbox One version has also been promised, but is currently without a launch window. Details or a launch window for the new Focus Home Interactive project have yet to be revealed.