Microsoft's XO18 event came with a surprise announcement: The company has acquired Obsidian and inXile, claiming that the two companies will remain fully autonomous under the new ownership.

Announced during the XO18 event in Mexico City this weekend, Microsoft's twin acquisitions see it become the owner of both Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment. Founded in 2003 by former Black Isle Studios staff, Obsidian is known for its action-oriented role-playing titles including Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and its two Pillars of Eternity titles; inXile, meanwhile, was founded by Black Isle parent company Interplay Productions' Brian Fargo in 2002 and is best known for The Bard's Tale franchise, Wasteland 2 and its upcoming sequel, and Torment: Tides of Numenera - as well as, for a bit of variety, a series of lighter puzzle and physics games which culminated in the 2012 launch of shoot-'em-up reboot Choplifter HD.

'While they do share a common heritage, the two creative teams at Obsidian and inXile are very different. They will continue to operate autonomously with their unique talents, IP, and expertise,' claims Matt Booty, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios, of the deals. 'As part of Microsoft Studios, Obsidian and inXile will have the support and freedom to fully realise their creative ambitions on both existing franchises and new RPG projects.

'Together, the two new studios bolster Microsoft Studios to now include 13 distinct and diverse game development teams. We’re focused on implementing new Microsoft technologies, delivering content for new platforms and services like Xbox Game Pass, and creating exclusive games that turn players into loyal Xbox fans. We are committed to expanding the Microsoft Studios franchises players already love, and investing in new, exclusive content for every type of gamer.'

At the same event, Microsoft confirmed that it was to launch the long-promised keyboard and mouse support on its Xbox One console family - support for which is still up to individual developers to enable - on November 14th, while Xbox head Phil Spencer claimed that the company had 'a tonne of work to do on Windows' with a pledge to overhaul the Microsoft Store - a platform which has previously forced potentially-unwanted driver updates and segregated players from mingling with users of other digital distribution platforms.

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October 14 2021 | 15:04