PlayStation and its acquisitions and 'crazy spending' are radically different from Xbox's

PlayStation and its acquisitions and 'crazy spending' are radically different from Xbox's

The recent PlayStation acquisitions may seem like some kind of reaction to Xbox and in some ways it is.

Sony has a number of independent partners within the industry and with big names buying it all on its side they see (not only Microsoft but also Tencent, Embracer, Zynga, EA ...), it is important for the Japanese company to protect their interests and ensure the proximity of key partners.

But the acquisition strategy of Sony is more thoughtful than a lot of acquisitions and mergers happening in the gaming industry these days and certainly is markedly at odds with what Xbox is doing.

Microsoft's acquisition strategy is almost frenzied in its approach to buying the best talent available. Bethesda's was the front page acquisition, one that definitely rocked the industry. It added significant strength to Xbox's first-party production and a major boost to Game Pass, the Redmond giant's flagship subscription service.

Dropping billions on a Bethesda has never been Sony's style. Yet it was an acquisition that doesn't fit perfectly with what Phil Spencer and Matt Booty have stated in several interviews. Studios were sought that could add new types of games and appeal to different audiences. There was talk of family-friendly games, Japanese titles, productions for the Asian market ... what there was no absolute need for were more RPGs and shooters but that's exactly what they bought.

This is not to detract from the value Bethesda brings to Microsoft. If you're into shooters and RPGs then Xbox is truly the home for these titles, more now than ever. It's a deal that adds significant depth to Game Pass but doesn't add breadth. Certainly there will be other acquisitions in the future that will fill this role but the Bethesda deal shows that Xbox is interested in all the opportunities

In contrast, Sony's recent acquisitions are more focused and decidedly less theatrical. Housemarque is a longtime partner who has truly made a qualitative leap forward with Returnal. Sony played an active role in the development of this studio and this step is the inevitable culmination of that relationship.

Sony's recent acquisitions are more focused and decidedly less theatrical. Nixxes is another strategic acquisition. PlayStation has achieved great success on PC by porting some of its most important games. Brands have reached new heights on PS4 already, and the PC just makes those IPs even more relevant. Acquiring a team of PC gaming specialists allows Sony to further explore that market without impacting existing first-party teams.

Then there's Bluepoint. The studio was not acquired by Sony last week despite it appearing to be done in a PlayStation Japan tweet that was later deleted. However if it has or will, it will be another carefully considered move.

Bluepoint is also a longtime partner and in particular is a master remaster team. PlayStation has proven to lean on historical games to effectively fill gaps in the release calendar. Demon's Souls was the best-received game at the launch of PS5 while the PS4 remaster of The Last of Us remains one of the console's biggest hits. Consequently, it makes sense to bring home a team that is famous for this type of work.

Bluepoint is also a long-time partner and in particular a master team of remasters Housemarque is the emblem of the way PlayStation acquires the companies. You go to a handful of dates that can evolve into a relationship and then, hopefully, you get to marriage. All in all, this is a common strategy and in fact some of the studios acquired by Xbox such as Undead Labs and Playground Games have followed a similar path.

Only this year PlayStation has already announced that it is "joining" three new companies: Haven Studios, Firewalk Studios and Deviation Games. These are completely new AAA developers that no one had heard of before they made deals with Sony but the talents behind these teams have created games like Assassin's Creed, Destiny and Call of Duty.

Sony has invested in Haven (Jade Raymond's new studio) and will release the first games of the other two studios. All three will have access to internal PlayStation resources and will be supported by PlayStation Studios boss Hermen Hulst. As with any appointment, things will not necessarily go perfectly but if they do then we could predict that these agreements will blossom into something more important such as success between Sony and Naughty Dog, Guerrilla Games, Media Molecule, Sucker Punch and Insomniac Games.

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This doesn't mean PlayStation won't invest in companies that can make up for the lack of skills and knowledge. Acquisitions of this type are closed frequently. Nixxes added great expertise in PC development, Gaikai brought streaming expertise, while the recent acquisition of the EVO provides the company with an important foothold in esports.

Essentially this is how which Sony has historically bought gaming companies. It was either the inevitable result of a successful partnership or a strategic move to explore another area of ​​the industry. Spending billions on a Bethesda on duty or throwing headlong into whoever is up for sale has never been in the style of the company.

In a year where mergers and acquisitions are more and more widespread we can expect Sony to continue to to spend money. Just don't expect her to get involved in that somewhat hectic activity that we can see in other video game giants.

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