Microsoft could be considering the acquisition of Hitman 2 developer IO Interactive, if the latest rumours to surface on Reddit are to be believed. According to Klobrille, Microsoft isn’t done with buying up studio’s just yet, and IO Interactive could well be at the top of its most-wanted list.
"’Consideration = a fact or a motive taken into account in deciding something.’ That's what it is. A consideration. Don't create a 12 minute Youtube video about it claiming I confirmed an IO Interactive acquisition. I didn't. I confirmed the -consideration- by MS. It's a start,” said Klobrille, wrapping the rumour up nice and warm with a coat of caveats.
We’re personally baking this rumour in a hefty salt crust before consuming it, coming as it does from a combination of Reddit rumor-mongering and a relatively unknown Twitter source. We’ve seen 2+2 come to five too many times lately, so approach this with caution.
Still, if we’re to run with it for a moment, it seems like a potentially sound fit. IO Interactive recently parted ways with Square Enix while retaining the Hitman license. They’re now an independent studio that could probably do with an injection of cash if the reported low sales of Hitman 2 are true. Microsoft could arguably make for a stronger partner than Square Enix in that Microsoft is far more inclined to be patient and also has mountains of cash to spare to support more ambitious projects.
We’re also seeing with Microsoft’s recent acquisitions that a track record of financial success isn’t a prerequisite for the purchase. Obsidian has struggled lately, while inXile has never had a bona fide smash hit. We Happy Few developer Compulsion Games also sticks out as a studio which has struggled to balance the books. No, Microsoft seems happy to make these acquisitions which, on the surface, appear risky, but could well be about boosting the number of its offerings rather than any guarantee of quality. Not that IO even makes bad games, but bolstering quantity is clearly a top priority for Microsoft.
Microsoft has made it very clear that Xbox Game Pass is a big focus for it right now. The Netflix-style all-you-can-eat gaming service thrives from having a wide catalogue, and Microsoft could be attempting to emulate Netflix to an even greater degree with its acquisitions, peppering the service with enough new titles that eventually gamers will feel the need to relent and subscribe. On that front, a noted developer with a proven track record in episodic games could be quite the coup for Microsoft.