What’s the point in this list? Just call it: Studios We Do Not Think MS Will Buy.
MS could be looking for talent, infrastructure, assets, or IPs from an acquisition. If they want it all, they’ll have to go big. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do so, but money is better spent elsewhere IMO.
Invest in talent aquisition rather than the bloat and liabilities of full studio acquisitions. Go out and poach the talent that can start a studio, give them creative freedom, funding, and the permission to build their own teams. You could buy the whole studio, but why not just lure away the true assets.
Also, earmark a big piece of your investment dollars into [email protected] Talented devs are fleeing or avoiding the big pubs for a reason. Those same devs like security and money, though. Invest in them now and you get games like Cuphead and Ori on your current platform, while you’re also recruiting for the future.
I guess my point is that they need to acquire the creative talent and not focus on the corporate gains. EA, Valve, Epic, etc., make sense for a lot of reasons, but their money could go much further if they spend it on recruitment.