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Microsoft Exec Misspeaks, Says They Have 16 Xbox Studios Instead of 15 [Update]

Mar 17, 2020
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Update: Microsoft has provided Wccftech with an update, claiming that Kevin Gammill simply mispoke, and that the number of Xbox Game Studios remains at 15. So, for now, don't expect any new studio acquisitions to be revealed.

Original story: Microsoft is currently in the midst of streaming Game Stack Live, which focuses on developer tools and interviews originally planned for GDC before it was postponed. While most of the stuff being covered will only be of interest to those in the development community, the show did kick off with a rather interesting tidbit – in an introductory speech, Microsoft’s GM of game developer experiences Kevin Gammill lets slip that Xbox Game Studios now includes 16 first-party teams. Why is that significant? Because we currently only know about 15 Xbox Game Studios, indicating another acquisition might have been made. You can check out Game Stack Live video below (skip to around 25 minutes in for the quote).

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For those who don’t want to search the video, here’s the relevant snippet…

What's unique about gaming at Microsoft is that we build the tools for game developer and then we use them across our 16 first-party studios to actually create games. We recognize game development is about pushing technology to its absolute limits.

Now, if this had been a live segment, I probably would have chalked up the 16 studios figure as just slip of the tongue, but Gammill’s intro was clearly pre-recorded and edited, and he makes a very specific point of stating how many studios they have, so I don’t think it’s a mistake. For the record, the studios currently confirmed to be under the Xbox umbrella are 343 industries, Compulsion Games, Double Fine, InXile Entertainment, Mojang, Ninja Theory, Obsidian Entertainment, Playground Games, Rare, The Coalition, The Initiative, Turn 10, Undead Labs, World's Edge, and Xbox Global Publishing. It isn't entirely clear whether Xbox Global Publishing is involved in development at all, but if they're not, Microsoft only has 14 internal studios, meaning two more might have been acquired. That said, for now, we'll say they have 15 confirmed studios.

So, if Microsoft has picked up a 16th studio, who might it be? There were recent rumors Microsoft was sniffing around for a Polish studio, which is where studios like Techland, The Farm 51, and People Can Fly are from (CD Projekt Red is Polish too, but they’re probably out of Microsoft’s price range). Microsoft has also been working closely with Asobo Studio (A Plague Tale: Innocence) on the new Microsoft Flight Simulator, so snapping them up would make sense. Of course, there’s also a chance Microsoft has started another new studio from scratch.

What do you think? Is there a 16th Xbox studio we don’t know about yet? If so, who is it?

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