Remedy Entertainment should be the next big Sony Interactive Worldwide Studios acquisition

PS5 is on the horizon, and it appears Sony is actively on the hunt for studio acquisitions to bolster its operations. According to a new report by Video Games Chronicle, SIE President and CEO Jim Ryan told Nikkei that “content is more important than ever before.”

Given that, studio purchases are being considered to enhance Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Worldwide Studios, which consists of 13 development houses across US, Europe and Japan. Ryan’s comments come just three weeks after PlayStation posted a job opening for a Corporate Merger & Acquisitions Associate, and six months following the posting of the M&A Director and Sr. Manager roles. All three positions exist to “identify attractive M&A and investment opportunities,” according to the LinkedIn job descriptions.

Content is more important than ever before – Jim Ryan, SIE President and CEO

Knowing that Sony is actively looking to purchase new studios, that begs the questions: who should they acquire? The best and most obvious choice in my view is Remedy Entertainment.

Following years of exclusive deals with Microsoft producing games like Alan Wake and Quantum Break, Remedy has gone multi-console with their latest offering Control. Not only is the game coming to PS4, but Sony smartly acquired marketing rights and revealed a two-minute sizzle reel at E3 2018:

Taking the partnership one step further, Sony worked out a deal with Remedy to offer its fan base exclusive content and timed exclusive content. All PS4 players who purchase the game will receive the following exclusives:

  • Astral Dive Suit costume
  • Rare Player Mod
  • Rare Service Weapon Mod
  • Two PS4 themes

Furthermore, the PS4-exclusive Digital Deluxe Edition includes two bonus missions: Isolation and Urban Response Gear. It also includes the Expansion Pass featuring two add-on packs that are releasing first on Sony’s console.

Why mention all this? Well, it’s clear as day that Remedy is snuggling up pretty cozy to Sony as of late, a surprising move given it’s decade-plus exclusivity with Microsoft. When you step back though, the relationship makes perfect sense given the current state of PlayStation’s and Xbox’s lineup.

It’s clear as day that Remedy is snuggling up pretty cozy to Sony as of late, a surprising move given it’s decade-plus exclusivity with Microsoft.

Whereas Microsoft used to heavily support single-player narrative games like Dead Rising, Tomb Raider and Splinter Cell, these days they’ve pivoted sharply to online multiplayer games as a service. In contrast, from around the middle of the PS3 era, Sony doubled down on lavish story-driven games, including hits like Spider-Man, God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Remedy’s portfolio, including Max Payne and Alan Wake, are also heavy on story—very much in line with Sony’s single-player core offering.

Looking at the big picture, Remedy’s growing partnership with Sony makes a lot of sense. But would Sony consider acquiring the Finland-based company famous for its independence? That remains to be seen, but there are a few very noteworthy signs.

While I caution reading too far into this, I find it interesting to see that Shuhei Yoshida, President of SIE Worldwide Studios, visited Remedy’s HQ back in May. He was there to try out the latest build of Control and looked pretty chummy posing with the studio heads.

Adding more intrigue was a tweet by Thomas Puha, Communications Director at Remedy, one month later. He was visiting Naughty Dog’s senior communication team, Scott Lowe and Arne Meyer, at the studio’s head office in Santa Monica. Sony’s teams are famous for their collaborative approach, so was this a simple gathering of friends or something larger like an orientation meeting of sorts?

Again, I stress taking all of this with a grain of salt as far as a potential acquisitions goes, but it’s worth considering nonetheless.

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Paul's Take

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Looking at where we are in the current console cycle, now’s the time for Sony to make some big acquisition moves. We all know Microsoft is, they acquired seven studios last E3 and just last month added an eighth, Double Fine Productions. That means Xbox Game Studios now consists of 15 studios, whereas Sony has 13.

This year is bringing another big player to the table—namely Google with their upcoming game streaming service Stadia. Sony is going to have more competition than ever next gen, and if acquisitions are in the cards it makes sense to put ink on paper now.

It’s worth considering too that Shawn Layden, Chairman of Sony Worldwide Studios, recently told CNET he’s looking for “fewer, bigger PlayStation games.” With slower output and larger experiences, adding a talented studio like Remedy could help fill the gaps.

Assuming Control sells well when it launches this August, you have to wonder if Sony will be eyeing the studio for a possible takeover?

There are several other studios that would do well under the SIE umbrella, with names like Insomniac Games, Kojima Productions, Housemarque and Bluepoint Games coming to mind. Still, Remedy feels like the best fit given their nearly two decades of experience creating AAA single-player games with deep, character-driven narratives.

What’s more, just this week Remedy acquired the publishing rights to Alan Wake (from Microsoft) and have already hinted at the game releasing on more platforms. Could we see Alan Wake make the jump to PS4? It seems entirely possible. Sony could—and I think should—also consider funding Alan Wake 2 as an exclusive or timed exclusive for PS5. That announcement would surely get PlayStation fans very excited.

While we’ll have to wait and see whether Sony makes any acquisition moves, clearly the relationship with Remedy is growing stronger by the day. Assuming Control sells well when it launches this August, you have to wonder if Sony will be eyeing the studio for a possible takeover?