Now that Activision Blizzard has joined Microsoft, it has one of the most impressive portfolios of game studios in the industry. Let’s take a closer look at all of its development and publishing subsidiaries, as well as their key IPs.

List of Microsoft Gaming subsidiaries post-Activision Blizzard deal: publishers and dozens of development and support studios

Since Phil Spencer took over Xbox, Microsoft’s gaming business has expanded significantly, largely thanks to the multi-billion acquisitons of ZeniMax Media and Activision Blizzard (as well as a number of smaller M&A deals).

The company now owns roughly 40 subsidiaries, including game development studios, publishers, and support teams. All of them are part of the larger Microsoft Gaming organization, which is led by Spencer as CEO.

Below are Microsoft’s main first-party studios broken down into three divisions: Xbox Game Studios, ZeniMax Media, and Activision Blizzard. But keep in mind that the company is likely to make some changes to its structure after completing its latest $68.7 billion deal, which could lead to some internal mergers and even layoffs or the divestment of certain smaller assets.

Xbox Game Studios

Turn 10 Studios (established by Microsoft)

  • Founded: 2002
  • IP: Forza Motorsport
  • Games released: 9

Founded in 2001, Turn 10 is still led by its co-founder Dan Greenawalt, who also serves as general manager of the Forza Motorsport franchise. He oversaw the production of all titles in the series, including the Forza Horizon IP (developed by Playground Games).

Forza Motorsport (2023)

343 Industries (established by Microsoft)

  • Founded: 2007
  • IP: Halo
  • Games released: 11

Bonnie Ross started 343 Industries in 2007, shortly after Bungie announced its split from Microsoft, to manage the further development of the Halo franchise. Since then, the studio has helped ship 11 games, including Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo Infinite.

The latter became a live service title, and 343 is now putting all its efforts into content support of the game by releasing new seasons, game modes, and (recently) the Forge AI Toolkit. However, a number of key developers have left the team since October 2020, including Bonnie Ross, art director Nicolas Bouvier, and technical director David Berger.

Halo Infinite

The Coalition (established by Microsoft)

  • Founded: 2010
  • IP: Gears of War
  • Games released: 5

Originally known as Zipline Studios, it was rebranded Microsoft Game Studios Vancouver shortly after being founded in 2010. The team was assigned to the eventually canceled AAA shooter for Kinect, but was later renamed Black Tusk Studios to create a new Xbox franchise for the corporation.

In 2014, Microsoft acquired the Gears of War IP from Epic Games and put Black Tusk (this time renamed to The Coalition) in charge of the series. Since then, the studio has released Gears of War 4 and Gears 5, as well as contributed to Gears Tactics and The Matrix Awakens demo.

Gears 5

The Initiative (established by Microsoft)

  • Founded: 2018
  • IP: Perfect Dark
  • Games released: 0

Phil Spencer announced the formation of The Initiative in 2018, with the studio being led by industry veteran and former Crystal Dynamics head Darrell Gallagher. It is now working on the reboot of Perfect Dark, which was announced at The Game Awards 2020.

However, the game unfortunately got stuck in a sort of development hell. During 2021, dozens of developers left The Initiative, including core writers, designers, and game director Dan Neuburger (was in charge of several Tomb Raider games).

The studio even partnered with Crystal Dynamisc to finish Perfect Dark, but its current state is still unclear. In August 2023, IGN reported that the game is still “roughly two to three years away from being ready for release.”

Perfect Dark

World’s Edge (established by Microsoft)

  • Founded: 2019
  • IP: Age of Empires, Age of Mythology
  • Games released: 6

The studio was started in 2019 by creative director Adam Isgreen (best known for his work on the Command & Conquer series) and Shannon Loftis (retired in February 2022). World’s Edge mainly focuses on the Age of Empires IP, having already developed AoE IV (not to mention the remasters of the two previous main installments in the series).

Right now, the team is also helping TiMi Studio Group, a subsidiary of Tencent and developer of Call of Duty: Mobile, with Age of Empires Mobile. It is yet to be launched globally, but its Chinese version, Return to Empire, broke into the top 10 highest-grossing iOS games in the country upon its release in March 2021.

Age of Empires IV

Rare (acquired)

  • Joined Microsoft: 2002
  • IP: Sea of Thieves, Killer Instinct, Battletoads
  • Games released under Microsoft: around 20

Since its inception in 1985, Rare has developed dozens of titles, including classics such as Battletoads, Killer Instinct, Golden Eye 007, and Perfect Dark. Although Microsoft acquired the studio in 2002, it continued to make games for Nintendo and other publishers for several years.

As part of Xbox Game Studios, Rare is best known for Kameo: Elements of Power, Conker: Live & Reloaded, Perfect Dark Zero, Viva Piñata, and, of course, its live service hit Sea of Thieves. It is likely the most diverse studio in Microsoft’s portfolio in terms of genres.

Sea of Thieves

Mojang Studios (acquired)

  • Joined Microsoft: 2014
  • IP: Minecraft
  • Games released under Microsoft: 4

In 2014, Minecraft creator Markus Persson left Mojang and sold the studio to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. The team is still supporting the game, which remains the best-selling title of all time with over 300 million units sold globally.

Since the acquisition, Mojang has developed card game Caller’s Bane and strategy Crown and Council, as well as Minecraft spin-offs, Dungeons and Legends.


Ninja Theory (acquired)

  • Joined Microsoft: 2018
  • IP: Hellblade
  • Games released under Microsoft: 1

Founded in 2000, Ninja Theory partnered with Microsoft for its debut game Kung Fu Chaos. After that, the studio made a PS3 exclusive Heavenly Sword, also making the name for itself with titles like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and DmC: Devil May Cry.

In 2017, Ninja Theory released Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, which received critical acclaim and sold over 1 million units. Microsoft acquired the team for $117 million in June 2018.

Its only project under Xbox Game Studio was the multiplayer game Bleeding Edge, which was shut down less than a year after launch due to mixed reception. Ninja Theory’s next title, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, is expected to come out in 2024.

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II

Playground Games (acquired)

  • Joined Microsoft: 2018
  • IP: Forza Horizon, Fable
  • Games released under Microsoft: 5

Founded in 2010 by former Codemasters employees Gavin Raeburn, Trevor Williams, and Ralph Fulton, Playground Games has been closely working with Microsoft even before the acquisition in June 2018. Although the racing genre and the Forza Horizon series remain its main focus, the studio is now working on the reboot of another popular Xbox IP, Fable.

Forza Horizon 5

Compulsion Games (acquired)

  • Joined Microsoft: 2018
  • IP: We Happy Few, South of Midnight
  • Games released under Microsoft: 0

Compulsion Games was founded in 2009 by former Arkane Studios producer Guillaume Provost. It developed two titles, platformer Contrast and action game We Happy Few, before being acquired by Microsoft in June 2018. Earlier this year, Xbox announced the studio’s next project, South of Midnight.

South of Midnight

Undead Labs (acquired)

  • Joined Microsoft: 2018
  • IP: State of Decay
  • Games released under Microsoft: 0

ArenaNet co-founder Jeff Strain started Undead Labs after leaving NCSoft in 2009. Best known for the State of Decay series, the studio was acquired by Microsoft in June 2018. Strain has since left the company and founded Possibility Space in 2021.

The current status of Undead Labs’ next game, State of Decay 3, is still unclear. As of April 2022, it was reportedly trapped in pre-production, as some employees accused the studio of mismanagement, toxic behavior, and sexism.

State of Decay 3

Obsidian Entertainment (acquired)

  • Joined Microsoft: 2018
  • IP: Pillars of Eternity, The Outer Worlds, Grounded
  • Games released under Microsoft: 3

Founded in 2003 by five former Black Isle developers, including Feargus Urquhart and Chris Avellone, Obsidian made a name for itself with RPGs like Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Neverwinter Nights 2, Fallout: New Vegas, and Pillars of Eternity.

Microsoft acquired the studio in November 2018. Since then, Obsidian has released The Outer Worlds, the survival game Grounded, and the smaller role-playing adventure Pentiment. It is now working on its next big RPG, Avowed, and the sequel to The Outer Worlds.


inXile Entertainment (acquired)

  • Joined Microsoft: 2018
  • IP: Wasteland, The Bard’s Tale
  • Games released under Microsoft: 3

Industry veteran Brian Fargo started inXile Entertainment in 2002, shortly after leaving Interplay, a company he co-founded in 1983. Having worked on many classic RPGs, the new team decided to keep making games in the genre, with The Bard’s Tale as its debut project.

After that, inXile released titles like Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera before being snapped up by Microsoft in November 2018. Since the acquisition, the studio has released Wasteland Remastered, Wasteland 3, and VR shooter Frostpoint, and is now working on its new IP, steampunk RPG Clockwork Revolution.

Clockwork Revolution

Double Fine Productions (acquired)

  • Joined Microsoft: 2019
  • IP: Psychonauts
  • Games released under Microsoft: 1

The studio was founded in 2000 by industry veteran Tim Schafer, who remains its CEO and president to this date. Its portfolio includes Psychonauts, Costume Quest, Brutal Legend, and Broken Age, as well as remasters of classic adventures like Full Throttle and Grim Fandango.

In 2019, Microsoft acquired Double Fine Productions for an undisclosed sum, helping the team ship Psychonauts 2.

Psychonauts 2

ZeniMax Media

In 2020, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax for $7.5 billion, along with all its subsidiaries.

Bethesda Softworks (publishing arm) / Bethesda Game Studios (game development)

  • Joined ZeniMax: 1999
  • IP: The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Starfield
  • Games released under Microsoft: 1

Bethesda has been making video games since 1986, serving as both developer and publisher of its projects. In 1999, it was acquired by ZeniMax Media, with the deal also resulting in a long-lasting lawsuit with founder Christopher Weaver, who accused his new business partners of outsing him from the company.

In 2001, it split into two divisions, Bethesda Softworks (publishes all titles within the ZeniMax family and sometimes third-party projects) and Bethesda Game Studios (developer of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series). Since the deal with Microsoft, the studio has released one game so far — Starfield, which attracted over 10 million players and became one of the best-selling games of 2023.


ZeniMax Online Studios

  • Established by ZeniMax: 2007
  • IP: The Elder Scrolls Online
  • Games released under Microsoft: 0

ZeniMax established an online division with the help of Dark Age of Camelot producer Matt Firor specifically to create MMO titles based on its franchises. In 2014, the studio released The Elder Scrolls Online and is now working on an unannounced project based on a new IP.

The Elder Scrolls Online

id Software

  • Joined ZeniMax: 2009
  • IP: Doom, Quake
  • Games released under Microsoft: 0

The pioneer of the first-person shooter genre, id Software is still one of the most recognized game developers worldwide. Having released dozens of titles, the studio is best known for its Doom and Quake franchises.

After being acquired by ZeniMax in 2009, id Software launched Doom (2016), Rage 1-2, and Doom Eternal.

Doom Eternal

Arkane Studios

  • Joined ZeniMax: 2010
  • IP: Dishonored, Prey, Deathloop
  • Games released under Microsoft: 1

Founded in 2000 by Raphael Colantonio (currently runs his new studio, WolfEye), Arkane made a name for itself with complex immersive games, Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. It currently has two main offices in Lyon and Austin.

In 2010, Bethesda approached the team with an idea for a first-person stealth game named Dishonored and eventually acquired the studio in August of that year. Arkane went on to develop the game in its own fashion, followed by a sequel, Prey, and Deathloop.

The latter came out after Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax, but remained a timed exclusive to the PlayStation platform under the existing deal. Earlier this year, Arkane released Redfall, a co-cop shooter that received negative reviews, not to mention its production suffered from poor management and talent attrition.



  • Joined ZeniMax: 2010
  • IP: Wolfenstein
  • Games released under Microsoft: 0

Founded in 2009 by Kjell Emanuelsson, Jim Kjellin, and five other former Starbreeze employees, MachineGames first started working with Bethesda in 2010 to develop a new game in the Wolfenstein series. Shortly after, the studio was acquired by ZeniMax.

Best known for Wolfenstein: The New Order and its sequel The Old Blood, MachineGames is now working on an untitled game based on the Indiana Jones IP.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

Tango Gameworks

  • Joined ZeniMax: 2010
  • IP: The Evil Within, Hi-Fi Rush
  • Games released under Microsoft: 1

Founded in 2010 by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, Tango Gameworks soon ran into financial issues and became a subsidiary of ZeniMax Asia. Under new management, the studio developed the survival horror game The Evil Within and its sequel.

Following Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax, Tango Gameworks released Ghostwire: Tokyo, which was a timed exclusive to the PlayStation platform. Its latest title, the rhythm-based action game Hi-Fi Rush, came out as a surprise Xbox project earlier this year.

Hi-Fi Rush

Alpha Dog Games

  • Joined ZeniMax: 2019

Known for mobile action RPG Wraithborne, Alpha Dog was acquired by ZeniMax in 2019 and currently serves as one of Microsoft’s in-house mobile development teams. Earlier this year, the studio launched top-down shooter Mighty Doom for iOS and Android, which generated nearly $1 million in its first two weeks.

Might Doom

Roundhouse Studios

  • Joined ZeniMax: 2019

Roundhouse was established under Bethesda Softworks in 2019, shortly after Human Head Studios announced its closure. The latter is the creator of the original Prey, shooter Brink, and the Rune series. New games from the studio are yet to be announced.

Prey (2006)

Activision Blizzard King

On October 13, 2023, Microsoft closed its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard following a nearly two-year fight with antitrust regulators.

Activision Publishing

  • Founded: 1979
  • IP: Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater etc.

The modern history of Activision started in 1991, when Bobby Kotick took over the financially unstable company for $500k and ultimately turned it into the gaming giant it is today. It has released hundreds of games over the past 30+ years, including Quake, Heretic, Guitar Hero, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

Activision is currently responsible for managing all of its in-house studios and publishing their games, mainly the Call of Duty series.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III

Raven Software

  • Joined Activision: 1997
  • IP: Heretic, Singularity, Soldier of Fortune

Brian and Steve Raffel founded Raven in 1990. In its early days, the studio worked closely with id Software, using its engine for games like Heretic and Hexen. As part of Activision, which acquired it for $12 million in 1997, Raven developed Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, Soldier of Fortune, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, and Singularity.

Since 2010, the studio has been a support team on the Call of Duty series, helping other in-house developers. Last year, a group of Raven testers also formed the first union at a major US game company, which was recognized by Activision.


Infinity Ward

  • Joined Activision: 2003
  • IP: Call of Duty

Founded in 2002 by Vince Zampella, Jason West, and Gran Collier, Infinity Ward is the original creator of the Call of Duty series. Activision served not only as a publisher, but also as an investor, holding a 30% stake in the studio and eventually acquiring it in 2003.

Infinity Ward is still in charge of the CoD franchise, working closely with other in-house studios so that Activision can keep releasing new games every year.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare


  • Joined Activision: 2001
  • IP: Call of Duty, Die by the Sword

Treyarch, known in its early days for the Die by the Sword series, was acquired by Activision five years after its founding in 1996. It also worked on Spider-Man titles before being assigned to the Call of Duty franchise, especially the Black Ops series.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Sledghammer Games

  • Joined Activision: 2009
  • IP: Call of Duty

In July 2009, Dead Space creator Glen Schofield left Electronic Arts and co-founded Seldgehammer Games. Just a few months after, the studio was acquired by Activision, which assigned it to the Call of Duty franchise. It is known for working on the following games in the series: Modern Warfare 3 (2011), Advanced Warfare, and Vanguard.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Toys for Bob

  • Joined Activision: 2005
  • IP: Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Skylanders

Founded in 1989, Toys for Bob is known for the Star Control series and licensed games based on popular IPs. In 2005, Activision acquired the studio, which went on to create the successful Skylanders franchise. Toys for Bob also made remasters of Spyro and Crash Bandicoot, as well as Crash Bandicoot 4, before becoming another support studio for Call of Duty.

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure

High Moon Studios

  • Joined Activision: 2008

Founded in 2001, High Moon was one of the studios that joined Activision as part of the deal with Vivendi in 2008 and the subsequent formation of Activision Blizzard. It is known for several Transformers games and 2013’s Deadpool, as well as its assistant work on the Call of Duty series.


Radical Enertainment

  • Joined Activision: 2008
  • IP: Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Skylanders

Founded in 1991, Radical Entertainment is known for many licensed games, including The Simpsons: Hit & Run. Since Activision’s merger with Vivendi, the studio has only developed Crash: Mind over Mutant, Prototype 1-2, and served as a support team for Destiny.

Prototype 2 

Blizzard Entertainment

  • Joined Activision: 2008
  • IP: Diablo, Warcraft, StarCraft, World of Warcraft

Since its establishment in 1991, Blizzard has become one of the most recognized game developers thanks to its rich portfolio of successful franchises. It joined Activision in 2008 following the Vivendi deal. Despite its recent struggles with poorly received titles and the infamous harassment scandal, Blizzard remains a valuable asset. Its latest game, Diablo IV, generated $666 million globally in its first five days.

World of Warcraft


  • Joined Activision: 2016
  • IP: Candy Crush Saga

Founded in 2003, King is one of the leading mobile publishers in the world that operates Candy Crush Saga and its sequels/spin-offs like Jelly Saga and Friends Saga. This IP has already surpassed $20 billion in lifetime revenue. In 2016, Activision acquired King for $5.6 billion.

Candy Crush Saga

Other Microsoft Gaming subsidiaries worth mentioning

  • Xbox Game Studios Publishing — publishing division working with third-party developers like Avalanche Studios (Contraband) and Oxide Games (Ara: History Untold).
  • Blizzard Albany (fka Vicarious Visions) — Diablo II: Resurrected and multiple games in series like Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and Call of Duty
  • Blizzard Proletariat acquired by Blizzard Entertainment in 2022 (developer of the now-closed battle royale game Spellbreak, currently working on World of Warcraft)
  • Beenox — acquired by Activision in 2005 (currently a support studio for Call of Duty, also known for its work on the Skylanders series)
  • Demonware — software company acquired by Activision in 2007 (works on matchmaking, statistics, and other online tools for Call of Duty)
  • Digital Legends Entertainment — Spanish studio acquired by Activision in 2021 (currently works on Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile)
  • Solid State Studios — formed by Activision in 2021 to work on CoD: Mobile and CoD: Warzone Mobile
  • Activision Shanghai Studio — founded in 2009, it currently works on the Call of Duty franchise
  • Major League Gaming — esports organization acquired by Activision Blizzard in 2016.

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