May i ask what difference does it make compared to previous years? Playground were always close with MS, being owned or independent will offer nothing new to what we are already getting. Its just more expenses for MS and more pressure for the Devs if owned. The smarter move is to just own the IPs and hire devs to make your games in my opinion.
If this is true, i hope MS budget them very well because Playground games dont exactly set the world on fire with sale records with there games.
The difference is MS wouldn't have to worry about another big publisher coming in, offering PG a huge contract to work on games for them instead. They're a proven studio, who consistently put out quality games. Even if you own the IP they've been working on, it's not that easy to just find a replacement for all those people working on it if they decide to take their business elsewhere.