Microsoft Studios is the video game production wing for Microsoft, responsible for the development and publishing of games for the Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Games for Windows, Steam, Windows Store and Windows Phone platforms. They were established in 2002 as Microsoft Game Studios to coincide with the already released Xbox, before being rebranded in 2011. The subsidiary had also been known as Microsoft Game Division and simply Microsoft Games before 2002. Microsoft Studios develops and publishes games in conjunction with first and third party development studios under their publishing label.
|Microsoft Game Studios (2002–2011)|
|Headquarters||Redmond, Washington, U.S.|
(Executive Vice President, Gaming)
(Head of Microsoft Studios)
(General Manager of First-Party Publishing)
(Director of Programming for Xbox Live)
Games for Windows
Games for Windows Phone
Age of Empires series
Gears of War series
Killer Instinct series
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Perfect Dark series
Zoo Tycoon series
Microsoft Casual Games
Turn 10 Studios
In 2007, Microsoft Studios announced the opening of a European office in Reading, England, headed by general manager Phil Spencer. It disbanded FASA Studio, best known for their work on the MechWarrior series. Former Halo developer Bungie announced that they would split from Microsoft Studios in order to become a privately held independent company. Peter Moore leaves Microsoft Studios to join Electronic Arts as the head of the company's sports division on July 17, 2007, and Don Mattrick joins Microsoft Studios as Senior Vice President in July 2007.
In 2008, Microsoft Studios disbanded casual games studio Carbonated Games, announced the formation of Xbox Live Productions to develop "high-quality digital content" for Xbox Live Arcade. It also began to recruit for 343 Industries to take over development of the Halo franchise after the former developer, Bungie, regained independent status. 343 Industries was first officially revealed as steward of the Halo series in mid-2009 with the announcement of the animated project, Halo Legends.
In 2009, Microsoft Studios disbanded both Ensemble Studios and Aces Studio due to the effects of the late-2000s financial crisis and the restructuring of their game development studios. Phil Spencer was promoted to Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Studios in order to replace the retiring Shane Kim.
In 2010, Microsoft Studios forms a Mobile Gaming studio focused on developing gaming and entertainment multimedia for Windows Phone. It also expanded Rare to a second additional 90+ person in Digbeth, Birmingham to produce further titles. formed new internal studios named Microsoft Game Studios – Vancouver and Microsoft Flight Development Team, to bring Microsoft Flight to PC. In October 2010, Don Mattrick is promoted to President of the Interactive Entertainment Business.
In 2012, Phil Harrison, the former Sony worldwide studios head, joins Microsoft as head of Microsoft Studios Europe and IEB. Microsoft Studios recruited for new development studios in Redmond, including Playful Learning and The Connected Experiences. Microsoft Studios acquired developer Press Play, known for developing Tentacles and Max & the Magic Marker. The studio announced plans to expand Microsoft Studios Victoria to between 80-100 people and reveals new plans, including the final name of their sports entertainment development studio, Skybox Sports and a new games development studio in London, England.
Later, Microsoft downsized Microsoft Studios Vancouver due to the cancellation of the Kinect family title "Project Columbia" and announces ongoing development of the free-to-play PC title Microsoft Flight has ceased due to portfolio evaluation, renamed Microsoft Studios Vancouver to Black Tusk Studios. They aimed to create Microsoft Studios' next big IP to rival their most successful series, Halo. Microsoft also recruited for a new development studio in Los Angeles, California to develop interactive Televised Entertainment for Microsoft platforms.
In 2013, Microsoft established a new European studio "Lift London", a studio that would create digital cloud games for tablets, mobiles and TVs and officially reveals the Xbox One on May 21, 2013. Later, Microsoft recruited for EMEA Publishing to manage relations with third party developers making Microsoft Published games in EMEA regions. and for new "Deep Tech" team inside its Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) unit; the new team is charged with working with top developers outside the company to build next-generation applications on top of Microsoft platforms.
Microsoft Studios announced that they would publish fifteen Xbox One exclusives within 12 months of launch, 8 of which would be new franchises. Phil Harrison, Corporate vice president at Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, announces Microsoft Studios is investing over billion into exclusive Xbox One games content, twice of that of its competitors.Julie Larson-Green is appointed head of the Xbox division, succeeding Don Mattrick, who leaves Microsoft Studios to join Zynga as Chief Executive Officer on July 1, 2013; and Jason Holtman, formerly Valve's Steam boss, joins Microsoft Studios as the head of PC Gaming Division and Strategy. In early December Microsoft Studios announces the creation of a small one called Microsoft Casual Games, is a division and video game developer of Microsoft Studios based in Redmond, Washington, United States. The developer has for the purpose of modernizing and redesigning classic games of the sistem Windows with new functions and features so that they can be accessible to all users of Windows 10 and Windows Phone. On December 6, Microsoft decided to close the Victoria Studio with explanation to focus on Vancouver based studio, Black Tusk. However Victoria didn't develop any games.
On January 11, 2014, Microsoft Studios announced they had signed multi-year, multi-title publishing contract with Undead Labs, developers of State of Decay. On January 27, it acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise and announced that the series will continue under Black Tusk Studios. On February 13, Jason Holtman left Microsoft Studios just 6 months after he joined the company. and Phil Spencer was appointed as the new head and boss of Microsoft Studios. On April 5, Phil Spencer announced that a "couple" of internal game development studios that had not been publicly revealed are currently working on exclusive titles for the Xbox One platform. On May 31, it was revealed that Microsoft has acquired the rights of "Rise of" IP (Rise of Nations and Legend). On July 17, the head of Microsoft Studios, Phil Spencer, confirmed that Xbox Entertainment Studios would close in the coming months. On September 15, Microsoft announced a deal to acquire Mojang, the developer of Minecraft, as their 21st first-party studio along with the Minecraft intellectual property. The deal was closed on November 6.
On March 4, 2015, Microsoft announced that they were merging UK based studios, Lift London and Soho Productions for further games development. The amalgam will operate under the Lift London name On March 7, Microsoft announced at GDC that Microsoft HoloLens games were coming to Xbox One. On March 9, Microsoft announced that Kudo Tsunoda's role was expanding and that he would be the new studio team leader for studios such as Press Play, Lift London and a new internal studio called Decisive Games. Decisive Games was previously mentioned in job postings, saying that they were hiring for work on a "beloved strategy game" for Xbox One/PC. This is the first public acknowledgement of the team's existence as a first party studio. On June 3, Microsoft announced that their first party studio Black Tusk Studios was officially renamed to The Coalition and would be focused on Gears of War experiences. On September 30, Microsoft relinquished ownership of Twisted Pixel Games. On November 19, Microsoft announced that Kudo Tsunoda had left the Xbox division for the development of HoloLens and Microsoft Edge, and other projects that can improve means of human interaction, including voice and gesture.
On March 7, 2016, Microsoft announced the imminent closure of Press Play and that Lionhead Studios would close in the near future. On March 8, Microsoft confirmed that BigPark, Good Science Studio, Leap Experience Pioneers, Function Studios, Team Dakota and SOTA had been consolidated during the past several years into other Microsoft Studios and teams, and on April 29, Lionhead Studios officially closed.
In September 2017, Spencer was promoted to the Senior Leadership Team, gaining the title of Executive Vice President of Gaming. In January 2018, Matt Booty was promoted from leader in the Minecraft games business, to Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Studios.
On June 10, 2018, during the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2018, Microsoft announced the acquisitions of Ninja Theory, Playground Games, Undead Labs and Compulsion Games, as well as the opening of a new studio in Santa Monica, California entitled The Initiative, which will be led by the former Crystal Dynamics studio head Darrell Gallagher. Later that year, in November, Microsoft Studios further announced plans to acquire Obsidian Entertainment and InXile Entertainment.
Microsoft Casual GamesEdit
|Industry||Computer and video games|
|Founded||2013; 5 years ago|
|Headquarters||Redmond, Washington, United States|
|Blue (Community Manager)|
Paul (Studio Manager)
Derek (Lead Producer)
Kevin (Design Director)
Will (Dev Manager)
Shannon (General Manager of Global Publishing)
Microsoft Casual Games is a division and video game developer of Microsoft Studios based in Redmond, Washington, United States. The developer has for the purpose of modernizing and redesigning classic games of the Windows system with new functions and features so that they can be accessible to all users of Windows 10 and Windows Phone.
The studio development with collaboration of other developers the following games which are downloadable for free.
|Microsoft Wordament||Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone, Android, iOS|
|Microsoft Solitaire Collection|
|Microsoft Bingo||Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone|
|Microsoft Ultimate Word Games|
|Microsoft Snap Attack|
|Microsoft Treasure Hunt|
Software development studiosEdit
Microsoft Studios contains 13 game studios worldwide.
Owned franchises and propertiesEdit
For 2010, the review aggregation site Metacritic gave the average score of Microsoft games as 73.4 (out of 100), making them the fourth highest-scoring major publisher, ahead of rival console manufacturer Sony but behind Nintendo. For 2011, their average score rose to 77.2, the highest for any major publisher, including Nintendo and Sony. For 2012, they had dropped to second with an average of 73.0, just behind Electronic Arts. For 2013, they ranked sixth, behind Nintendo and Sony.
- Jenkins, David. "New Microsoft Game Studios Office For Europe". Gamasutra.
- Keiser, Joe (May 22, 2008). "Exclusive Interview: MS to Delist XBLA Titles". Next-Gen.biz. Archived from the original on January 24, 2012. Retrieved May 22, 2008.
- Thorsen, Tor. "Microsoft's Phil Spencer promoted, Shane Kim retiring". CNET.
- Crossley, Rob. "MGS turns to mobile games". MCV.
- "Microsoft adds second 90 person Rare Ltd. Studio to development roster".,
- "Microsoft Studios Vancouver". Archived from the original on May 23, 2013.
- "MGS bring Microsoft Flight to PC".
- "Microsoft Studios Victoria". Archived from the original on March 28, 2013.
- "Microsoft opens new studio for Kinect".
- "Microsoft opening game studio in Victoria". Archived from the original on August 7, 2012.
- "Phil Harrison takes over Microsoft Europe".
- "MGS recruits for Microsoft Studios – Playful Learning". Archived from the original on August 7, 2012.
- "Microsoft Studios – The Connected Experiences". Archived from the original on March 28, 2013.
- "Microsoft acquires Magic Marker dev Press Play".
- "Microsoft to grow Victoria base". Archived from the original on January 16, 2013.
- "Skybox Sports: Jobs at Microsoft". Archived from the original on June 19, 2012.
- "New Microsoft London studio 'to work on social game projects'".
- "Report: Microsoft reduces staff at Vancouver studio, cans 'Project Columbia' for Kinect".
- "New Microsoft LA studio". Archived from the original on May 23, 2013.
- "Microsoft announces Lift London, a new developer focused on cloud games for tablets, mobiles and TVs'". Archived from the original on June 27, 2014.
- "Microsoft Recruits for EMEA publishing arm'". Archived from the original on May 18, 2013.
- "Microsoft Recruits for Deep Tech team'".
- Xbox Wire Staff (January 27, 2014). "Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise". Xbox Wire. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
- "State of Decay sequels on Xbox One".
- "Microsoft's PC gaming chief leaves after just six months".
- "Phil Spencer named new boss of Xbox".
- "Microsoft Studios bigger than previously revealed".
- "Microsoft bought the rights to "Rise of" IP".
- Molina, Brett (September 15, 2014). "Microsoft to acquire Minecraft maker Mojang for $2.5B". USA Today.
- "Hololens games on Xbox one". The Verge. March 7, 2015.
- "Kudo Tsunoda Expands Role at Microsoft". Eurogamer. March 9, 2015.
- "Introducing The Coalition". Xbox Wire. June 3, 2015.
- "Twisted Pixel Games Goes Indie (Again)". Twisted Pixel Games, LLC.
- McWhertor, Michael (November 19, 2015). "Xbox's Kudo Tsunoda moves to new role at Microsoft". Polygon. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
- "Changes at Microsoft Studios, UK and Denmark".
- "A Microsoft Studios Website Cleanup Turned Into Unfounded Rumors Of Impending Layoffs".
- "Lionhead Studios shuts its doors today". Polygon. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
- "Microsoft Xbox boss Phil Spencer just got a big promotion, and will now report directly to CEO Satya Nadella". businessinsider.com. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
- "Microsoft promoted its 'Minecraft' boss to be the new executive in charge of all Xbox game efforts". businessinsider.com. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
- Yin-Poole, Wesley (June 10, 2018). "Microsoft buys Ninja Theory, Playground Games, more". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
- Crecente, Brian (June 10, 2018). "Former Crystal Dynamics Head Opens Microsoft Game Studio the Initiative". Variety. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
- "Obsidian, inXile acquired by Microsoft Studios". Gamasutra. November 10, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
- "Metacritic's 1st Annual Game Publisher Rankings". Metacritic. 2011-02-09. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
- "Metacritic's 2nd Annual Game Publisher Rankings". Metacritic. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- "Metacritic's 3rd Annual Game Publisher Rankings". Metacritic. Retrieved June 15, 2013.