Is Microsoft Buying Epic?

Let us take a quick look at Epic Games and what has been happening there, because it almost seems like something stinky might be brewing behind the closed windows and doors. Of course, the big news today is that the president of the company, Mike Capps is stepping down after a decade of service. That is not that remarkable in itself, if you are not aware that there have been suspiciously many such moves from Epic, as of late.

Barely a month ago, another big name left the company in Cliff Bleszinski. As hugely annoying as that dude could be, he created some decent waves in the industry, on occasion, making his departure somewhat of a shock.

That somewhat took the spotlight away from the departure of Rodd Fergusson, the producer of Gears of War, who also left around that time. And shortly before that, there was yet another major exodus, which included a key Gears figure (especially Gears 3) Lee Perry and a bunch of important guys from People Can Fly: Adrian Chmielarz, Andrzej Poznanski and Michal Kosieradzki. And if all of that wasn’t enough, the company has recently brought in its’ first outside investor in a China-based Tencent Holdings.

The most interesting part of it all is the timing. Epic recently went into a fresh direction with Fortnite, to please the Gears burnouts, it has also just showcased the next iteration of their massively popular Unreal engine and the industry is… uh gearing up for the next generation of consoles. Seems like a pretty darn important and exciting time for the company, any company.

So who farted?

Well, there are only two reasons any management would abandon a company at a time like this. One is that things are going down the shitter fast over there, which is possible, considering the outside investor but would be highly surprising considering all the success Epic has enjoyed this generation. Another, more likely possibility is that someone else is taking the reigns a little too aggressively. Perhaps the Tencent deal was made because the company was up for sale, as in another, bigger deal was being finalized. Perhaps all these people left (and most of them left to work elsewhere on games) because they got a taste of things to come, when someone soon starts telling them what to do?

For now, that someone seems to me like Microsoft. It’s no secret that Epic Games wanted to go multi-platform, even with Gears, but lo and behold, they are making another Microsoft-exclusive title (and who knows what else for the next Xbox). A new deal?

On Microsoft’s front, things are heating up as well and for good reason. They need games for their next Xbox and they are now in a worse position in terms of first-party developers than they were at the launch of Xbox 360: most of their developers have closed, some… rarely make decent games (clever, eh?) anymore, and they no longer have Peter Molyneux or the behemoth that was Bungie. And sure, Microsoft has been a bit dickish when it comes to their hardcore fans but they will be needing them soon. Some signs point to them realizing that fact, hence their attempt to renew their trademark for Killer Instinct (which failed) this September, and their launch of another new game studio in Black Tusk Studios. 

Sure, this is all speculation but something is brewing and I bet that we will have more news soon.

9 comments on “Is Microsoft Buying Epic?

  1. [...] conjecture is coming from alienlion.com. I’ll summarize the points they made:- the big news today is that the president of the [...]

  2. Apparently someone follows me on twitter…

    • Mac says:

      An what research have you been doing. If the next Xbox were to come out next holiday season they would have a new Halo maybe,an another crappy Gears maybe. Fable is dead, Hope you don’t think indie title’s sell consoles. Please tell me what exclusive titles you have heard about that MS would be successful with, an something that would help push hardware sells. They spent this entire generation blowing money on DLC for 3rd party titles an Apps while there first party studios closed left an right. An now there in a scramble before next generation to put studios together. Call of Duty has single handled carry the Xbox this generation. You Sir need to go do your research! Most played XBL games year in year out have been Multi Platform titles, Regardless of multiplayer aspect or not. MS just doesn’t exclusive games besides the Big 2

  3. “worse position in terms of first-party developers than they were at the launch of Xbox 360: ”

    Not true at all, you need to do some research. As for Epic, no, not happening.

    • AlienLion says:

      Greg,
      I’d genuinely like to know what makes you say that. At the start of this generation, they had the talent the fans could really be excited about. By now, the last Fable tanked both commercially and critically so nobody is excited about that. Molyneux left Lionhead. Bungie left. Ensemble disbanded.

      They have 343, which seems to be great for Halo but other than that? Apart from the mobile and some indie studios, they don’t really have anyone we could point a finger at and say “they might make the next xbox worth it.” And third party exclusives rarely stay exclusive so I doubt that most existing gamers will be persuaded by those. If MS wants us back for another round, they need something big and I mean BIG. Otherwise, Sony will have it easy.

      • Again, I’ll reiterate, do some research, go investigate the number of studios MS has bought or opened up in the past 3 years. They have more 1st party game studios now, than they have ever had before. Many of them are flying under the radar, because they are not building games for the 360. Not to mention 2nd party developers like Epic, Playground, Crytek, Hell just look at what MS are doing in Canada with 2 new studios, or Platform Next studios in Redmond.

        • AlienLion says:

          Well, OK. I must be bad at doing research because I don’t see anything special that they have done in the past 3 years. The only first party studio you actually named was Platform Next, which is a Kinect studio (http://www.kotaku.com.au/2012/01/microsoft-setting-up-two-new-kinect-studios/).

          The rest of what they bought/started gives absolutely no reason to get excited. Apart from 343, the only studio that stated they are working on an actual game is Black Tusk and whether there is any decent talent remains to be seen.

  4. nooooooooooooooooooooo!!! I hate kinect!!!!

  5. Da GeeZ says:

    Agreed.

    Microsoft buying up Epic Games(plus People Can Fly & Chair) seems like the most obvious reason for the changes going on at Epic.

    However… I think this speculation really becomes difficult to believe when we start thinking about the Unreal4 engine. Would Microsoft be so bold as to push the Unreal4 engine towards Microsoft ONLY hardware!? Will Microsoft compromise and allow competing platforms to benefit from Unreal4? What impact does this have on the Unreal4 engine for non-Microsoft platforms(WiiU/iPhones/Android/Ps3/Ps4)? Plus we need to consider the tail end of Unreal3, which will be sticking around for a few years after ‘Xbox720′ is released… how does this impact other platforms?

    Personally I’d love to see Microsoft buying up Epic Games… they work so well together… it’s a logical partnership when you talk about the games. Plus the top end Mobile games, like Infinity Blade, will also be made available for WP8 only.

    Fingers Crossed… I like the idea : )

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