Xbox Game Studio has 12 games in the works right now with third party developers.
As reported by Tech4Gamers, Xbox Game Studios’ director of business strategy, Crystin Cox made this revelation herself at a GDC presentation dated all the way back in March. At the time, only industry insiders and developers could watch the presentation, but Microsoft uploaded it to the Microsoft Game Dev YouTube channel today.
Of course, it’s standard industry practice for companies like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft to get third party companies to make games with them. Even when these companies are as big as they are, they will find the need to seek out the specialization of other companies to deliver better results than they can, and perhaps without the cost of them having to invest to learn those new skills from scratch.
So for example, when Niantic approached Nintendo with the idea of Pokemon Go, Nintendo could have opted to try to make a game like it themselves. However, Nintendo did not have the specialization in ARGs or mobile games to make such a game work. After seeing their success, Nintendo worked on more mobile games with outside companies. They also saw notable success in Fire Emblem Heroes, a co-production of Nintendo, DeNA, the mobile partner, and Intelligent Systems, a Nintendo owned studios who makes the Fire Emblem games.
The most recent such game that Microsoft has in the pipeline seems to be Party Animals. Developed by Recreate Games, Party Animals is a physics based brawler, which lets you use various animals to play as. Given the date of the GDC speech, it’s likely that Party Animals is itself one of those twelve games.
Crystin describes the third party games as unique experiences, that stand out from the traditional games that are regularly released. So that sets expectations that these games won’t be the usual big budget multiplayer shooters, or even open world games.
Tech4Gamers cites one such project as collaboration between Xbox and Kojima Productions, but neither company have elaborated on what that project will be. While Hideo Kojima owns his own studio, it’s likely his work won’t fit what Crystin describes in her presentation.
These third party games are more likely to be smaller indie games. These give the developers opportunities to experiment. Even better than that for Microsoft, they would be perfect to add to Game Pass.
Whatever forms these games take, they will definitely help Microsoft manage their timetable for more of their own AAA games to release in 2024 and the years after that.