With the PS5 just over a year away, Sony Interactive Entertainment might be looking to bolster their existing army of game development studios through acquisitions. Thanks to a translation from Gematsu, we know that SIE President Jim Ryan spoke to Nikkei, claiming that “content is becoming more important than ever before.”, and they are looking into merger and acquisition for additional game development companies.
This seemed to specifically be a response to Google and their new console the Stadia, but it’s no secret that as game development begins to take longer to deliver quality titles, more studios are going to become crucial. Microsoft’s Xbox division has already acquired several new studios just in the last year–Ninja Theory, Undead Labs, Playground Games, Compulsion Games, inXile, and Obsidian were all brought into the Microsoft family in the latter half of 2018. This was a necessary move for Microsoft, a company that had been struggling with first-party offerings and had recently been trying to market their Xbox Game Pass services to users.
For Sony on the other hand, things are a tad different. Unlike Microsoft, which spent the first half of this generation announcing games only to cancel them a year or two later, Sony has enjoyed critical and commercial acclaim for at least one of their major titles every year since 2015 brought them Bloodborne via a partnership with From Software. In 2016 they gave us Uncharted 4, in 2017 we saw Horizon: Zero Dawn, and last year they managed a deadly one-two combo in God of War and Spider-Man. Even this year will see Kojima’s new title Death Stranding come from the developer.
Sony’s already in a good position, so for them this is more about maintaining the massive hold they have on the gaming world compared to everyone else. As for who the company could look to acquire, this will depend on two primary factors: which companies would even want to be acquired, and what strategy is Sony looking to take when it comes to acquisitions. Are they looking to bolster their existing focus on single-player, narrative driven games? If so, then the recent rumor about Sony seeking to buy Remedy Entertainment would make sense. Are they looking to acquire studios with whom they have friendly relationships already? Bluepoint Studios has been vital to Sony this generation, helping them by remastering The Last of Us for PS4, and rebuilding Shadow of the Colossus from the ground up. Or could they be looking to fill in some holes remaining in their offerings? This generation saw Sony cede the multi-player market to third-party to great success, but given how large and lucrative that side of gaming is, that can only stay the same for so long.
Whatever the case, what Sony likely wants to avoid the most is a repeat of this generation, where they were forced to cancel their own PlayStation Experience and sit out E3 out of a lack of new titles to show to their fanbase.