Sony has just snagged Insomniac Games, which opens up a world of possibilities.
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Sony has acquired Insomniac Games! The prolific studio behind Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank, Resistance and Spider-Man has joined the ranks as Sony’s 14th first-party studio. As a development house that has long prided itself on its independence, this news signals a huge shift within the developer.
Insomniac has held on to their independence, despite having a very close relationship with Sony since the studio’s inception. In 2017, when Insomniac Games debuted their new logo, the studio made a point to mention the value they place on maintaining independence. A published blog post touched on this matter by saying:
We’ve always tried to evolve with the constantly changing industry we adore. That’s one of the challenges and blessings of remaining completely independent as a studio.
However, it would appear that at some point, Sony was able to reach deep into their pockets and cut Insomniac Games a cheque big enough to change their minds, perhaps making Insomniac reevaluate the foreseeable future.
Does the acquisition of Insomniac Games hint at the possibility that Sony is gearing up for an aggressive push to secure more studios?
It’s well known that Microsoft has been on big a purchasing streak lately, acquiring the likes of Double Fine, Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment. However, Sony has been hesitant to make acquisitions this gen, with the exception of Audiokinetic, a sound-engineering firm in the gaming industry. Does the acquisition of Insomniac Games hint at the possibility that Sony is gearing up for an aggressive push to secure more studios?
Like Insomniac Games, there a quite a few studios that have maintained an esteemed relationship with Sony, despite not having first-party exclusivity. Although the term “second-party studio” is not thrown around as much, developers such as Housemarque, Ready at Dawn and Bluepoint have all had a longstanding relationship with Sony. Any of the aforementioned studios would sit very comfortably alongside the likes of Sucker Punch, Naughty Dog, and Guerilla Games.
Another possible contender is Kojima Productions. Sony and Hideo Kojima have an ongoing relationship, going as far as to provide funding towards the creation of his latest game. Death Stranding has yet to be released, though securing the exclusivity for Kojima’s future projects would be a huge get for Sony.
Sony isn’t even limited to second-party studios. Back in May, the internet was sent into a frenzy as SIE’s Shuhei Yoshida took a trip to Finland to check out Remedy’s Control. While the jury is still out on whether or not this was something more than a cordial visit, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Yoshida arrived and began planting the seeds for a potential studio purchase.
After what transpired yesterday, it seems that any independent studio could be fair game. At the end of the day, the gaming industry is still a business and the value of job security and funding may outweigh the pros of being a free agent in the world of games.