Does Microsoft own Forza?

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In just a few weeks Forza Horizon 5 will be released to gamers everywhere. We're excited about the new cars and the rich Mexico map. But here's a question we keep seeing: does Microsoft own Forza? What does this mean for the iconic racing series?

The creation of the Forza series

Turn 10 Studios are the creators of the Forza Motorsport games. The studio was established in 2001 to create a rival for the Gran Turismo games for the Xbox. Turn 10 is a division of Xbox Game Studios and so a first-party Microsoft studio.

The first Forza Motorsport game was released in May 2005. The title showcased the capabilities of the Xbox platform and helped establish Microsoft as a premier console manufacturer.

Turn 10 Studios

Turn 10 are located in Redmond, Washington. This is the home of the Microsoft corporation generally, so it makes sense that they would set up their racing-focused studio in their hometown.

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Designing such detailed car models requires bespoke tooling

The Turn 10 team create the Forza Motorsport games as well as producing the car models and physics engine for the Forza Horizon games. To do this, they use an in-house program called Fuel. Fuel is a collaborative 3d modelling tool where developers can pull in CAD data for the cars and then add detailed features to each vehicle.

Forza Horizon and Playground Games

When it came to the Forza Horizon games, Turn 10 chose to involve another studio in the game design. They turned to Playground Games.

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Forza Horizon 4 marries the car models and physics of Forza Motorsport with the Playground Games designed maps and gameplay

Playground Games is based in Leamington Spa and is also owned by Microsoft. Microsoft acquired Playground Games in 2018 and this was announced during the Forza Horizon 4 reveal. Turn 10 and Playground Games together produce the Forza Horizon games, using shared assets such as the car models and the physics engine.

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Forza and Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass

Because Microsoft owns the Forza games, it's good news for Game Pass players. Microsoft has committed to their first party titles each being on the Game Pass from day one. This means that anyone with an active Game Pass subscription can play Forza Horizon 5 from its launch date.

On the other hand, it's bad news for those gamers committed to the Playstation ecosystem. Microsoft are keen to keep their first-party games as Xbox and PC only, so you won't get to race around the Mexico of Forza Horizon 5 on your PS5.