Considering how Microsoft expanded its Xbox first -party portfolio by buying ZeniMax Media, I previously thought that Sony shouldn’t have acquired the publisher and based on the company’s current trajectory, we seem to agree. While not quite close to Microsoft’s purchase of ZeniMax Media, Sony is expanding the PlayStation first -party family with a smaller but strategic acquisition. The latest announcement shows that Sony is interested in acquiring the company to expand Sony Worldwide Studios where appropriate, with the company buying Finnish developer Housemarque and PC transfer team Nixxes Software within the same week.
In fact, when you look at what Sony has chosen to buy, both are pretty obvious results, which is a good thing! Housemarque is a longtime partner, having worked on PS3 titles like Dead Nation, as well as Resogun, Alienation, and Nex Machina for the PS4. Even before Returnal’s critical success on the PS5, there was a forged relationship, so bringing Housemarque to the PlayStation properly boosted both sides.
Nixxes talent is well received.
Nixxes software is a bit less obvious but Sony is interested in bringing his games to the PC. Death Stranding, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Days Gone are just the beginning, with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End apparently to come. This is a big change for many Sony teams that have never worked on a PC port before, which means Nixxes talent is a virtue. Combined with how there is an increasing demand for support jobs as the lingering effects of the pandemic mean working from home is here, it’s clear why this addition is appropriate.
In addition, PlayStation Japan inadvertently uploaded a picture welcoming the Bluepoint Games to the PlayStation family. Bluepoint Games has been responsible for one of the best PS5 games available to date, a remake of Demon’s Souls, so potential news is welcome. While it was quickly removed, if this could be done, this is another smart acquisition that makes sense to grow Worldwide Studios without having to disrupt the market on a massive scale.
While expanding its first board, Sony also showed a willingness to go out and sign initial publishing agreements with new studios like Haven, Firewalk, and Deviation. Although expressed at a very fast and fast pace, this publishing deal with an unproven new team provides a creative injection into the upcoming PlayStation pipeline.
This doesn’t mean Sony can’t continue to grow. It doesn’t have to make a big splash and do a complicated nature in absorbing publishers.
Comparing the angles of an active PlayStation and Xbox and stating one failure seems like the wrong approach. Microsoft is in a position where it needs to upgrade first -party capabilities by a big, fast factor, which means that the Zenimax / Bethesda acquisition gives it a large number of iconic IPs and franchises like DOOM, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls. Sony already already Strong IPs, with a clear ability to lift new ideas into mainstream blockbusters, as with the success of millions of sellers of Horizon Zero Dawn and Ghost of Tsushima, the latter will see a Director’s Cut later this year.
Sony already has a strong IP.
My colleague Jennifer Locke still believes that Sony should buy publishers to grow in large numbers, but I don’t see it, at least not unless things are shaken more drastically with the removal of some major third-party publishers by other players. If that happens, things will change for Sony releases and need to be aggressive to stay competitive but I don’t see this happening.
No doubt the video game industry is in a consolidation phase, with experienced teams recruited and veteran developers attacking themselves, but Sony isn’t lagging behind. The moves he makes may not produce much competition with competition, but not much is needed.
The PlayStation doesn’t need to get a publisher to have a solid PS5 lineup, with Returnal and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart providing a solid experience in the first half of 2021. Looking ahead, Guerrilla Games and Sony Santa Monica are competing with beautiful Horizon Forbidden West and God games of the next War, respectively.
Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Beyond that, the upcoming but yet -to -be -revealed Naughty Dog Factions game will give a new look at the multiplayer world of The Last of Us. Bend Studio is a sequel from Days Gone to the new open world IP, Sony Santa Monica is widely believed to have a second game in development, and that’s without entering the potential of new projects from London Studio, Team Asobi, Pixelopus and others.
The quality, quantity, and balance between have always been quite subjective but for now, the promise is that PS5 owners will get a large number of great games over the next few years. Losing in a game from Bethesda will definitely be disappointing but it doesn’t get away from the PlayStation Studios lineup. Sony proved throughout the life cycle of the PS4 that it can deliver high quality games and there is no reason to believe that it stopped or that it will stop over the next few years.
Of course, growth and gaming are supported by service and that’s where I think Sony is is have room to grow. PlayStation Plus delivers solid games every month but PlayStation Now, with its huge library and options to download or stream games, feels very underused, especially with the PlayStation moving into the mobile market. The infrastructure is there and leveraging PlayStation Now to stream games to mobile devices, not just consoles and PCs will be an easy way for Sony to grow in the gaming market, in tandem with Xbox Cloud Gaming.
That’s not to say that directly copying Microsoft’s cloud gaming approach will work but the potential to reach players who may never be inclined to buy a console can’t be ignored. Sony has its games and studies. Now it just needs to grow somewhere else.