Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO, Jim Ryan, has said that the company has more studio acquisitions planned, over and above those that have already been announced in 2021 and 2022.
Ryan discussed the acquisitions in a recent appearance on the PlayStation podcast (opens in new tab) (via VGC (opens in new tab)), saying, “We’re in a really good place with PlayStation Studios right now and have been for the past few years. The critical success and the commercial success of the games that they’ve been making […] that has given us permission to invest heavily in content creation.”
Ryan went on to add, “We’re growing our studios organically and we’re growing through acquisition. We acquired five studios during the course of 2021, we’re in discussions with Bungie and we have more planned. This is getting us into a cycle, a virtuous cycle, where success begets success.”
Sony’s most recent acquisition of Haven Studios was announced (opens in new tab) only last month. That was the second major acquisition of 2022 for the company, preceded by the acquisition of Destiny creator, Bungie, in January. Even before that, throughout 2021 Sony acquired five studios: Valkyrie Entertainment, Housemarque, Bluepoint, Firesprite, and Nixxes.
This isn’t the first time Ryan has been pretty up front about Sony’s intentions around snapping up studios. Following the announcement of the company’s intention to acquire Bungie in January 2022, for instance, he told GamesIndustry.biz (opens in new tab), "We should absolutely expect more. We are by no means done. With PlayStation, we have a long way to go.”
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Analysis: Laying groundwork
It feels like a pretty busy, future-gazing time for Sony at the moment, with these studio acquisitions being a big part of laying the groundwork for that future. Though we don't know which studios Sony has its eyes on next, it seems likely that it'll be a studio that can help it with its plans for PlayStation as others have been.
We know, for example, that Sony is looking to make a big push into live service games, with a promise to release 10 live service titles by 2026. These new games haven’t been explicitly detailed, but PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst told GamesIndustry.biz that the company has "quite a few now in development or conceptualization".
That’s not to say, though, that we’ll stop seeing high-quality single-player experiences on PlayStation; last month PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst reaffirmed Sony's commitment to single-player games, telling GamesIndustry.biz (opens in new tab) that although the company is making a big push into live service at the moment, "Obviously we will always carry on making these single-player narrative-based games such as Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us, and Horizon Forbidden West.”
Earlier this month, Sony also announced its new, three-tier version of PlayStation Plus which is due to launch in June 2022. Unlike Xbox Game Pass, this new PlayStation Plus service won’t have the company’s new first-party releases on day one as part of the subscription.
Ryan also touched on this in his interview on the PlayStation podcast, saying that “putting these games into a subscription service immediately upon their release would break this virtuous circle, and we wouldn’t be able to invest in the way that we’re currently able to. So we’re not doing it. We’re going to stick to the approach that we have and has served us well under many years now.”