This is glorious news. Not that Microsoft won't do good with Obsidian, but they are being given one last crack of truly independent game-production on a new IP before operations shift into acquisition mode.
Which makes me wonder why Obsidian felt they couldn't hold out any longer, I wonder if the struggles of Deadfire and the gap to their next game were part of it. I guess with Microsoft, the team that wasn't on Project Indiana will be able to secure immediate funding.
You better take the deal when it's there. If they had tried to hold out a bit longer, would they have been able to find a publisher for their next game? How much money could they actually get through FIG/KS to fund PoE3 or some other game? I'm doubtful it would have been enough.
Sure, they could have made smaller games, but that's not their strategy. I don't know why Feargus didn't do smaller games that have hit potential to get a steady revenue of funds coming in.
What if they lost key personnel? That would make their value for MS lower. If Project Indiana isn't a hit, they value would once again be lower.
With the sales of Deadfire not being as big as expected, it could have meant that would have had to downsize again. After building their company yet again up to 175+ staff members. That would a pretty heavy blow.