Xbox’s Phil Spencer Expects To See Game Development Hubs In New Regions Worldwide


Xbox boss Phil Spencer expects to see more studios in regions not traditionally known for game development, potentially including India, Africa, and South America.

Speaking to The Guardian, Spencer suggested that you can expect Microsoft to acquire a studio in a place outside of the traditionally known game development hubs. The interviewer asked about India, Africa, or South America; Spencer did not mention these places by name, but clearly he’s expecting to see growth into new markets.

“It would actually surprise me if that doesn’t happen,” he said after The Guardian asked, “Does this mean Microsoft might purchase a studio in India, Africa, or South America?”


“Just knowing the talent that’s available, and the tools [such as game engines Unity and Unreal] that are so much more accessible … I would be surprised if in the next three to five years, you don’t see numerous studios in places that aren’t the traditional hubs of video game development,” Spencer said.

Xbox Studios boss Matt Booty echoed Spencer’s comments and said whatever these studios turn out to be, they will be more than a satellite team for outsourcing and support.

“There should be a several-hundred-person studio [in one of these territories],” he said. “And not for outsourcing or support, but a team building whatever the version of the best blockbuster game may be for that market. That is very much the vision.”


Some of these places already have established game development scenes. For example, Rockstar India employs hundreds of people; the team most recently contributed to Red Dead Redemption II.

In June, Spencer spoke about Xbox’s vision and philosophy for studio acquisitions. He said people telling smaller studios not to sell are being short-sighted.

“I know sometimes I see dialogue out in the industry about, well, are acquisitions a good thing or a bad thing,” Spencer said. “One thing I’ll put out there is starting a new studio–starting any small business, frankly–is a very risky proposition, starting a video game studio even more so. And if a team actually takes the risk of starting a new company, starting a new studio, building that over years, building value in that. To say they shouldn’t sell, I think, is just short-sighted.”


Microsoft’s biggest gaming acquisition ever was that of ZeniMax and its subsidiary Bethesda, which Microsoft paid $7.5 billion to acquire in the second-largest acquisition in gaming history.


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