Having acquired Activision Blizzard, one may think that Microsoft are done with adding game studios under their umbrella but that couldn't be further from the truth.
Microsoft is understood to be targeting more studios for acquisition following its surprise mammoth buyout of Activision Blizzard .
Three studios seem to stand out as prime candidates to join the Xbox family - Crystal Dynamics, IO Interactive and Avalanche Studios.
So, what do they have in common? Well, all three studios are currently working on exclusive games for Xbox, both announced and unannounced.
Crystal Dynamics are helping The Initiative with the development of Perfect Dark reboot, Avalanche Studios are working on Contraband , a co-op smuggler's paradise game set in the 1970s while IO Interactive are reportedly developing their biggest and most ambitious game yet in "Project Dragon" , which Jez Corden of Windows Central describes as an incredibly ambitious exclusive fantasy RPG .
You may argue that working on an exclusive game doesn't necessarily mean that Xbox are acquiring all these studios, which is true, but Microsoft are always on the lookout to add more studios and we have heard some rumblings that Crystal Dynamics, IO Interactive and Avalanche Studios are basically on a "trial" with their Xbox exclusives.
If all goes well and according to plan, which includes hitting key milestones on time, keeping the development on track and of course, delivering a great game, don't be surprised if these studios officially become part of Xbox in the next couple of years.
Contraband and Perfect Dark seem to be a year or two away from the release which means Avalanche and Crystal Dynamics would probably be the first in line to join Xbox while Project Dragon is still far away so a potential acquisition of IO Interactive is expected to come several years from now.
As always with speculation and rumours, take them with a dose of scepticism until we get an official word from Microsoft.
Also, keep in mind that acquisition negotiations are a fragile thing, they can fall apart for even the tiniest reasons and a change of heart is always possible too so these three studios certainly are not a lock for Microsoft rather than potential targets for the next acquisition spree.
The $75 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard itself is not a done deal - US and European regulators will still require to scrutinize its effect on consumers, which is why a date of 2023 has been set on the deal's conclusion by Microsoft themselves.