Microsoft Studios logo
|Type||Division of Microsoft|
Computer and video games
|Founded||2002 (as Microsoft Game Studios)
2011 (as Microsoft Studios)
|Headquarters||Redmond, Washington, U.S.|
|Key people||Julie Larson-Green
(Executive Vice President)
(Head of Microsoft Studios)
(World Wide Corporate Vice President)
(Europe Corporate Vice President)
(Director of Programming For Xbox Live)
(General Manager of Xbox Live)
(PC Gaming and Entertainment Strategy)
Games for Windows
Games for Windows Phone
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 and Windows Phone platforms. They were established in 2002 as Microsoft Game Studios to coincide with the release of the Xbox, before being re-branded in 2011. Microsoft Studios develops and publishes games in conjunction with first and third party development studios under their publishing label.
- Microsoft Studios purchases Lionhead Studios, known for developing critically acclaimed titles such as the Black & White series and the Fable series.
- Microsoft Studios acquires Massive Incorporated, an in-game advertising company to provide additional revenues from their gaming platforms.
- Microsoft Studios announces the opening of a European office in Reading, England, headed by General manager Phil Spencer.
- Microsoft Studios disbands 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.
- Don Mattrick joins Microsoft Studios as Senior Vice President in July 2007.
- Microsoft Studios disbands casual games studio Carbonated Games.
- Microsoft Studios announces the formation of Xbox Live Productions to develop "high-quality digital content" for Xbox Live Arcade.
- Microsoft Studios begins recruiting 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.
- Microsoft Studios disbands both Ensemble Studios and Aces Studio due to the effects of the late-2000s financial crisis and the restructuring of their game development studios.
- In May, Microsoft acquires Canadian developer BigPark Inc. and integrates them into Microsoft Studios.
- Phil Spencer is promoted to Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Studios in order to replace the retiring Shane Kim.
- Microsoft Studios forms Good Science Studio to develop software for Kinect.
- Microsoft Studios forms a Mobile Gaming studio focused on developing gaming and entertainment multimedia for Windows Phone.
- Microsoft Studios expands Rare Ltd. to a second additional 90+ person in Digbeth, Birmingham to produce further titles.
- Microsoft Studios forms new internal studio named Microsoft Game Studios - Vancouver.
- Microsoft Studios forms new internal studio named Microsoft Flight Development Team to bring Microsoft Flight to PC.
- Don Mattrick is promoted to President of the Interactive Entertainment Business in October 2010.
- Microsoft Studios opens new development studios in Soho London, Redmond, Washington and Victoria, British Columbia.
- Microsoft Studios acquires indie game developer Twisted Pixel Games, known for developing titles including 'Splosion Man and The Gunstringer.
- Phil Harrison, the former Sony world wide studios head, joins Microsoft as head of Microsoft Studios Europe and IEB.
- Microsoft Studios recruits for new development studios in Redmond — Microsoft Studios - Playful Learning.
- Microsoft Studios recruits for new development studios in Redmond — Microsoft Studios - The Connected Experiences.
- Microsoft Studios acquires developer Press Play, known for developing Tentacles and Max & the Magic Marker.
- Microsoft Studios announces plans to expand Microsoft Studios Victoria to between 80-100 people.
- Microsoft reveals the final name of their sports entertainment development studio - Skybox Sports - in a recruitment release.
- Microsoft reveals plans to open a new games development studio in London, England to develop various free-to-play, online and social games for Xbox platforms.
- Microsoft downsizes 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.
- Microsoft Studios Vancouver is officially renamed Black Tusk Studios. They aim to create Microsoft Studios' next big IP to rival their most successful series, Halo.
- Microsoft recruits for a new development studio in Los Angeles, California to develop interactive Televised Entertainment for Microsoft platforms - Microsoft Studios - LA.
- Microsoft renames Microsoft Studios London to "Lift London", a studio that would create games for the cloud.
- Microsoft Studios officially reveals the Xbox One on May 21, 2013.
- Microsoft recruits for Microsoft Studios - EMEA Publishing to manage relations with third party developers making Microsoft Published games in EMEA regions.
- Microsoft recruits 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 announces that they will publish 15 Xbox One exclusives within 12 months of launch, 8 of which will be new franchises.
- Phil Harrison, Corporate vice president at Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, announces Microsoft Studios is investing over $1 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.
- Jason Holtman, formerly Valve's Steam boss, joins Microsoft Studios as the head of PC Gaming Division and Strategy.
- 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 27th, Microsoft acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise and announced that the series will continue under Black Tusk Studios.
Software development studios
Microsoft Studios contains 28 studios worldwide, 24 for game development (343 Industries, Rare, Lionhead, Turn 10, Twisted Pixel, and Black Tusk, which comprises multiple teams working on multiple titles concurrently) and 7 for entertainment technology advancement and publishing:
Non Game Development
|Former and Defunct|
Owned franchises and properties
Also, despite having entered into the console gaming industry with the Xbox, they have nevertheless allowed their own franchises to appear on Nintendo's handhelds, including the Game Boy Advance and the Nintendo DS, since Microsoft has not currently entered the video game handheld industry. So far there are no games announced for the Nintendo 3DS.
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 were ranked sixth (behind both Sony and Nintendo) largely due to their failure to publish any games scoring 90 or above for the first time in four years.
- List of video games published by Microsoft Studios
- List of products published by Nintendo
- List of video games published by Sony Computer Entertainment
- "Microsoft Game Studios Acquires Video Game Luminary Peter Molyneux’s Lionhead Studios: Lionhead’s hit franchise "Fable" surpasses 2 million unit sales milestone". Microsoft News Center.
- "Microsoft to Acquire In-Game Advertising Pioneer Massive Inc.: Massive’s technology for weaving dynamic, relevant ads into video games will extend next-generation advertising ...". Microsoft News Center.
- 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. 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".
- "MGS bring Microsoft Flight to PC".
- "Microsoft Studios Victoria".
- "Microsoft opens new studio for Kinect".
- "Microsoft opening game studio in Victoria".
- "Microsoft Studios Acquires Indie Game Developer Twisted Pixel".
- "Microsoft buys indie developer Twisted Pixel".
- "Phil Harrison takes over Microsoft Europe".
- "MGS recruits for Microsoft Studios - Playful Learning".
- "Microsoft Studios - The Connected Experiences".
- "Microsoft acquires Magic Marker dev Press Play".
- "Microsoft to grow Victoria base".
- "Skybox Sports: Jobs at Microsoft".
- "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".
- "Lift London to create Cloud based gaming content'".
- "Microsoft Recruits for EMEA publishing arm'".
- "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.
- "Press Play Homepage".
- "Sentient Team Recruitment".
- "Sentient Team Recruitment".
- "Games Testing Organization Recruitment".
- "Technology and Incubation Recruitment".
- "Core pLatform Team Recruitment".
- "Deep Tech Team Recruitment".
- "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.
- "Metacritic's 4th Annual Game Publisher Rankings". Metacritic. 2014-01-30. Retrieved 2014-02-13.