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Rumours about acquisition by Microsoft


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#1
Aoyagi

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So what's up with that? I'm hoping it's just a piece of gossip and that it stays that way...


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#2
kirottu

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Do you have anything else than a post by some random poster on a forum?

In other news, Obsidian has just hired me as a consultant for the Cain & Boyarsky game and will be paying me many monies. That's all I have right now. Hope that's transparent enough for you guys. I can't validate it any further, I'm sorry.
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#3
Aoyagi

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Other than this (another random source) which refers to the forum posts, not really.


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#4
injurai

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Well, Obsidian now has 1 owned IP which is proving successful. They now have an upstart publisher that treats them well, they Take-Two's Private Division which is a AA oriented publisher model for independent developers which they have a game signed with (Obsidian's current largest project in a while.)

 

Make of that what you will.



#5
Bartimaeus

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Also, Chris Avellone has said before that the Obsidian head honchos are desperate to be bought out, but also make of that what you will.

#6
injurai

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Well, retirement does eventually come knocking so I wouldn't put it past to cash out. It's just odd though because they already had Microsoft spring a cancellation on them not too long ago. I get the feeling Microsoft's aggressive acquisitions have more to do with see what sticks again rather than cultivating what they already have.

 

Closing Ensemble to me was an unforgivable sin, I can't help but feel Obsidian's future with Microsoft will be performance based and they won't merely shrink to ride out a few market flops like private Obsidian can. Look how much of a waste Rare has been, With Viva Pinata they could have gone on to be Microsoft's Media Molecule if only they kept innovating. Lionhead Studios was another fantastically poorly managed studio.

 

Microsoft also missed the opportunity on Bioware after bankrolling ME1. One of their best exclusive came from Insomniac, which was built on their relation with Sony. Now their best acquisition is Ninja Theory, once again built on a relation with Sony. They lost Bungie, which they had to pay off to get them away from Apple in the first place. They lost their relation with Epic. Coalition and 343 only exist to not lose their only solid IPs left, which both seem to be waning into the dusk anyways. I also hadn't realized that Turn 10 wasn't owned by Microsoft until the recent wave of acquisitions.

 

I want to think Microsoft actually brings something to the table, but they inject too many extraneous business strategy into something that could otherwise be far more straight forward.


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#7
majestic

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Well, retirement does eventually come knocking so I wouldn't put it past to cash out.

 

Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Running Obsidian wasn't smooth sailing at the best of times. I can imagine that it's been a harrowing decade and a half for all the owners. I don't blame any of them for wanting to cash out and retire.


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#8
injurai

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If they sell only after MCA's equity has been entirely cashed out, there is going to be some major salt to behold. This is for sure.



#9
Tigranes

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Obsidian has flirted with an acquisition for most of its history, and it's not really a secret. Feargus in particular I don't think would ever take a "independent or death" line, and would seriously discuss any actual approach by Microsoft.

 

I'm more skeptical that Microsoft or other big players might have actually approached them.

 

Studios change, people change, and it's hard to ever keep a particular style going for 10, 20, 30 years. Obsidian no longer produces what used to be their 'signature style' in the days of KOTOR2 or MOTB, for better or for worse. I would assume that after any takeover there will be more changes.



#10
BillyCorgan

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Sad news if it's confirmed ...
And what will become the "Indiana Project" (The Outer Worlds), Microsoft will still kill a future title in progress?

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#11
injurai

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Acquiring Obsidian means acquiring any outstanding contracts, so it's still being published by Take-Two. If Obsidian owns The Outer Worlds though, then Microsoft could self-publish the IP going forward. I know Obsidian registered the trademarks, but depending on contracts that doesn't mean they own that IP outright. I'd imagine they don't.



#12
kanisatha

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This story has now been picked up by a couple of online sources:

 

https://www.thenerdm...tter-of-intent/

https://gamestechica...crosoft-leaked/

 

We know Feargus has been openly saying for some time now that he wants to retire. So this story may actually turn out to be true. MS has deep pockets so the owners of Obsidian may see this as a great opportunity to cash out big time. And MS/Xbox could really use an infusion of quality RPGs into their stable of games.



#13
Tagaziel

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All pointing to a Reddit thread.

Welcome to post-truth.
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#14
Huh

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I really hope this isn't true.


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#15
HoonDing

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Better give the money to charity instead.



#16
shmerl

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That would be very bad if true. As a Linux and DRM-free gamer, I'll have to say adieu to Obdisdian if MS will buy them, because I highly doubt MS will let them continue releasing Linux games and same goes for DRM-free day one releases.

 

And it's quite disgusting that MS are going after successful studios to swallow them up. They already did that with Compulsion Games, so no more Linux and DRM-free releases from them.


Edited by shmerl, 12 August 2018 - 08:16 AM.

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#17
the_dog_days

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I'm more skeptical that Microsoft or other big players might have actually approached them.

 

Same here. I find it hard to believe that Microsoft would target a predominately PC developer who make rpgs.



#18
algroth

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Allegedly the source has had a pretty good track record regarding previous leaks and so on. What makes me doubtful about it is all the business relating to Stormlands, which Feargus and the others have been pretty vocal about... Considering the kind of stuff that went down back then I'm not sure why either company would have any interest in working for the other again, and if it is true then I wonder what exactly has changed, and what sort of deal are we talking about and how might that affect the autonomy and "artistic integrity" of Obsidian's works going forward. I know that MS is actively looking to acquire studios, they announced as much at E3, and according to Avellone Obsidian has been looking to get bought out, but I wonder how the former case affected their potential deals and how their dealings have changed since, if this is actually being discussed.

 

I got to admit to being pretty anxious about it though. My personal experience regarding smaller companies being taken by larger ones has always, *always* been a thoroughly negative one, in terms of the shift to the work environment, the loss of creative freedom and control, and worst of all the general final output, and so I can't help but dread the prospect this time around as well. I get the advantages such an action presents, at least theoretically, but for what concerns me as both a part of the entertainment industry and as an audience for Obsidian's work thus far, my pessimism is getting the worse of me.


Edited by algroth, 12 August 2018 - 03:19 PM.

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#19
AwesomeOcelot

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Obsidian has just become more secure in revenue. Releasing more games per year than ever, owning an IP i.e. getting royalties on sales. Obsidian might have sold when they had trouble securing jobs with publishers like Microsoft pulling the plug on contracts, but they wouldn't sell when they are on the up.

Also Microsoft wouldn't be interested in a PC RPG developer, that's hardly going to effect their Xbox platform.

Edited by AwesomeOcelot, 13 August 2018 - 12:16 AM.

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#20
LadyCrimson

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Everything I've read is that MS seems to be putting out a lot of letters on intent. Which doesn't mean Obsidian will actually go for it. Still, as others have pointed out, it wouldn't be totally surprising if they did ... assuming there's really an offer/intent and it's a decent one, of course.

 

I wouldn't be very happy about it, tho. I mean, can't blame them if they did want to cash out and they have to do what feels best for them, but acquisitions of this sort are rarely things I end up liking/often equal the eventual company/product deathknell from my perspective. More importantly, what might happen to the forum! :biggrin:

 

But such can happen to companies regardless of buyouts, whatever the reasons. Time and the changes time brings tends to do that. I think it's been amazing they've managed as many years of making games that I (personally) enjoy, as they have.


Edited by LadyCrimson, 13 August 2018 - 03:28 AM.

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