Hot on the heels of a $7.6 billion acquisition of GitHub, Microsoft may already have its eyes set on the next company to bring under its umbrella: Playground Games.
The studio is responsible for creating the popular Forza Horizon series, and is now working on an open-world action RPG for Microsoft, widely believed to be a new entry in the Fable franchise after years of dormancy. The company already owns Turn 10 studios, the makers of the Forza Motorsport games. With this in mind, and Microsoft's insistence on beefing up its first-party offerings in a bid to counter Sony's penchant for scoring third-party exclusives for its consoles, an acquisition does make sense.
The only evidence, though substantial, we have so far that things are already underway is an update to Playground Games' page on Companies House, an official UK government website that provides information on all registered companies in the country. The updated listing shows Keith Dolliver as having been appointed to the position of director within the company on May 29.
This is rather curious, as Dolliver is, in fact, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft. His LinkedIn page shows him as specialising in mergers, and he has been similarly appointed to the position of director at other companies - such as Skype, Lionhead Studios, and Rare - prior to their acquisition by Microsoft. All of this adds up to a very strong possibility that Microsoft is going down a similar path with Playground Games.