All the most important acquisitions of 2021

All the most important acquisitions of 2021

Over the past year there has been a big movement in terms of acquisitions in the gaming industry, aimed at different objectives, depending on the company that implemented them. The software house market, in this sense, has proved to be really fluid, not only because the big publishers have money to invest in quantity to strengthen themselves, but also because surviving in the current video game industry is paradoxically increasingly difficult and consequently ending. under the wing of a larger company it has become attractive to many.

This is the perspective that explains some of the agreements signed, including the most sensational in the entire history of video games (spoiler: the acquisition of Bethesda by Microsoft). Of course, seeing so many software houses give up their independence hurts a little, but currently it appears an inevitable process. Let's recap, therefore, which were the most important acquisitions of 2021.

Xbox launches the atomic bomb

The agreement between Microsoft and Zenimax was epochal Let's talk clearly: when Microsoft decided to focus on the Xbox Game Pass, that is, on subscription services, she found herself with a big problem to solve. If you remember the service was launched in 2017, a period in which the Redmond house did not have a large amount of releases, due to the ongoing renovation, initiated by Phil Spencer after the debacle of Don Mattrick, who with his communication strategies and commercials had condemned the Xbox One to be a fringe machine. The Xbox Game Pass, like all similar subscription services, however, needs to have games that cannot be played on competing services. So many titles.

From there began the race to acquire Xbox, aimed at creating a huge and regular flow of video games; race that had its peak in 2021 with the forfeiture of the entire Zenimax Media, a group that also includes Bethesda Softworks, the label of the Elder Scrolls and Fallout. The European Commission, the last institutional body to have to give its endorsement to the agreement, expressed itself favorably towards the latter on March 8, 2021.

From that moment Bethesda, Zenimax Online, id Software, MachineGames, Arkane Studios, Tango Gameworks, Roundhouse Studios, Alpha Dog Games and other smaller divisions of the company have joined the Xbox Game Studios as a block. The cost of the operation was 7.5 billion dollars and for now we have seen very little what awaits us, especially since Zenimax and Bethesda had already signed commercial agreements with other companies, which prevented, for example, the launch of Deathloop on Xbox. Certainly, months will still pass before the fruits of this colossal move will really manifest.

Meanwhile Xbox, and consequently the Game Pass, had a big boost in terms of image and was able to enjoy some positive effects due to the long wave of the acquisition already in the months following the same, such as the sensation triggered by the announcement of the exclusivity of Starfield for PC and Xbox consoles or that of the hypothesis that the new Indiana Jones of MachineGames is also an exclusive. As for the new games, not much has been seen, but you will see that in 2022 something will come out, also because so many studios must be working on something.

PlayStation acquisitions look to consolidation and to PC

Returnal is Housemarque's most ambitious game While Xbox acquisitions in recent years have been aimed primarily at increasing the firepower of the brand and its subscription services, those made by Sony for PlayStation have been more aimed at consolidating existing relationships and supporting the PC market, which was little beaten by the Japanese multinational until a few years ago, but is now an integral part of the brand. On June 29, Sony announced the entry of Housemarque in PlayStation Studios, a move that came after years of deep collaboration between the two companies, so much so that the Finnish studio had worked on one of the PS4 launch titles, Resogun, and had published several exclusives. on PlayStation platforms. Let's say that the agreement reached appeared almost physiological, as welcomed by both parties, and that no one was surprised that much, especially after Returnal, an exclusive PS5 fully funded by Sony.

A similar speech is feasible for Bluepoint Games, another studio that has worked together with Sony for years, producing excellent titles such as Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, Shadow of the Colossus and the recent Demon's Souls, one of the games launch of PS5. It must be said that so far Bluepoint has only worked on remakes and remasters, but it should also be remembered that it has done such a quality work that the entry into PlayStation Studios in September has been appreciated by practically everyone.

The third studio that confirms the underlying philosophy of the acquisitions made by Sony in 2021 is Firesprite, another company with which the Japanese multinational has collaborated several times, for example for The Playroom VR.

Demon's Souls was one of the PS5 launch titles The acquisition was confirmed in September, but it seems that Sony has been injecting money into the company for some time to make it grow, so much so that Firesprite itself then acquired Fabrik Games, a minor studio with which he had collaborated on The Persistence and which had launched at least two games on the PlayStation console.

The acquisition of Nixxes Software, on the other hand, is to be read completely in a PC key. It is in fact a studio specialized in conversions, which has signed, among others, the PC versions of the latest Tomb Raider, Marvel's Avengers and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. After all, it was Sony president Jim Ryan who told Famitsu that this acquisition is aimed at increasing the output of PlayStation titles on PC, so there is not much to speculate.

As there is not much to speculate on the acquisition of Valkyrie Entertainment, a classic support studio that has already worked on numerous PlayStation games, such as God of War and the latest inFAMOUS. According to Hermen Hulst, the head of PlayStation Studios, Valkyrie will continue to do what she has always done, only exclusively for Sony (she is currently helping with the development of God of War: Ragnarok, so to speak).

Nintendo, a single acquisition, despite the success

A single acquisition for Nintendo in 2021, but of value Unlike Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo seems to be much less interested in acquisitions. In 2021, it forfeited only one new studio: Next Level Games. Moreover, it is a software house with which he has been collaborating for years (practically since it was founded in 2002) and which recently launched the excellent Luigi's Mansion 3. Basically for Nintendo and Next Level Games the agreement reached, dating back to January, changes little or nothing, apart from obviously introducing some news at the management level of the company. For the rest, Mario's house seems to prefer the consolidation of the studios he already owns, instead of hunting for external studios, as specified in the financial report of November 5, 2021. For this reason, no new acquisitions are on the horizon, unless some surprises.

Embracer Group looks everywhere

The Borderlands series is now from Embracer Group Embracer Group was the most active company in terms of acquisitions in 2021, so much so that it did record deals ranging from very small studios to full-fledged giants like Gearbox. The former THQ Nordic AB seems to want to expand dramatically, going to satisfy niches of all kinds to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. The acquisitions made by Embracer are so many that it is also difficult to remember them all. In February it announced the agreement with Gearbox, the home of Borderlands, fresh from the global success of Borderlands 3 and ready to launch Tiny Tina's Wonderlands. The same month also came the acquisitions of Easybrain (a mobile developer) and Aspyr Media. In May 2021 there were other acquisitions of small and medium studios: Appeal Studios, FRAME BREAK, Massive Miniteam and Kaiko Games, the latter author of the remaster Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning.

Perfect World is from Embracer, by now But it doesn't end there, because in August another eleven acquisitions were announced: 3D Realms, Crazy Labs, Demiurge Studios, DigixArt, Easy Trigger, Force Field, Fractured Byte, Ghost Ship Games, Grimfrost, Slipgate Ironworks and SmartPhone Labs. Drawing a profile of all these studies would require a separate special ... also because the acquisitions of Embracer are certainly not finished. In December, in fact, those of Perfect World, the Neverwinter studio, and Cryptic Studios were announced, both placed under Gearbox. In addition, there have also been very different acquisitions, such as those of Shiver Entertainment, which deals with software, of DIGIC, a Hungarian animation studio, that of Spotfilm Networx, a German video-on-demand network, that of Asmodee, the publisher of board games such as Catan and Carcassonne and, above all, that of Dark Horse Media, a publisher specializing in comics to which we owe, among others, Hellboy, Sin City and Umbrella Academy.

Others major acquisitions

The F1 series is now in the hands of Electronic Arts Keeping track of all the acquisitions of 2021 is really complex, as you may have understood, there have been so many. Among the many that we have not reported, it is worth mentioning that of Night School Studio by Netflix, which was the clear sign of the desire of the video streaming giant to expand into the world of video games (as also demonstrated with the launch of some Android games included in the platform subscription). The development team is launching Oxenfree II: Lost Signals in 2022, so we will soon see what the benefits of this marriage will be.

Another very important agreement was the one between Electronic Arts and Codemasters, with the American multinational that bought the historic English studio, snatching it from Take Two at the last moment. In this way, important racing games such as GRID, but above all the F1 series, which enjoys the official license of the FIA, have been brought home. Also very active is Tencent which, in addition to raking up shares and stakes in western companies, has recently acquired Turtle Rock Studio, the developer of Back 4 Blood and Left 4 Dead.

Have you noticed any errors?

Powered by Blogger.