Job Listings Indicate Microsoft Are Opening A California Studio
A recruitment page for an executive producer indicate that Microsoft are hiring for an executive producer to head up a fledgling first party studio in southern California.
The listing, which has now been taken down, expresses the need for an executive producer responsible for building and fostering a game development studio. The listing calls for someone with experience shipping "AAAA" games and also experience in understanding the process of creating a new IP.
This, along with the hiring of Santa Monica-based ex-Crystal Dynamics head Darrell Gallagher and the statement that more about his role will be known at E3, points in the direction of Microsoft trying to bolster first party offerings by opening more studios under their umbrella. Microsoft have traditionally relied on partners for major first party offerings, but that has often resulted in a loss of control over the schedule.
Microsoft's E3 press conference will be held on June 10 at 1:00 PM PT/4:00 PM ET.
More first party studios would definitely help Microsoft's exclusive library, but any studio founding now would probably not have a game ready for several years at the least. Microsoft are probably investing in its own future now rather than thinking short-term.