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PlayStation acquisition season is all about buying variety within limits

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Sony Interactive Entertainment made another acquisition. This time, the company brought UK studio Firesprite into the fold of PlayStation Studios. Firesprite joins Nixxies and Housemarque as Sony looks to continue growing its stable of game developers. Firesprite is best known for contributing to PlayStation’s experimental Playroom games for its camera and VR peripherals. But PlayStation Studios boss Hermen Hulst has already confirmed that the team will be working on their own projects in the future.

“As Firesprite has grown and evolved, we think it’s a role he’s now ready for, developing exclusive games for PlayStation Studios,” Hulst said in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz.

According to job postings, Firespite is recruiting for a multiplayer shooter and narrative hit adventure. And some key members of the 250-employee studio come from the Sony studio in Liverpool which was responsible for the sci-fi racing series Wipeout. So expect Firesprite to play a similar role to Insomniac Games, which is a studio with a similar size footprint. But also expect him to work quickly to build his own voice, which Hulst says is important to Sony.

“The experiences you can expect [from Firesprite] will be quite different from the teams you know well at PlayStation Studios, ”Hulst said. “And I love that. I think our audiences, our community, deserve very rich and very different experiences. Ultimately, that’s what makes us stronger.

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At the same time, Firesprite fits into a pattern that suggests Sony is looking for something specific in its studio acquisitions.

PlayStation wants variety, but it also wants to appeal to a global audience

When Hulst talks about a desire for different experiences, he’s probably not referring to something too experimental. After all, the company recently shut down Japan Studios, which helped create and promote some of PlayStation’s most original game ideas. So while Hulst explicitly mentions variety as an explanation for Sony’s recent acquisitions, the publisher is looking for variety with limits.

Sony believes developers like Housemarque and Firesprite can produce high-quality games while maintaining global appeal. And Firesprite could achieve this by taking a different path than its new sister studios. Sony has a lock on some type of blockbuster adventure – and while all games may be more Sony-like and cinematic, the company doesn’t need another Naughty Dog.

Instead, he’s probably hoping to build the Naughty Dog or the Insomniac of multiplayer games.

The obvious challenge with multiplayer projects is that Sony will have to compete with Fortnite and Call of Duty on its own platform. But the upside is that multiplayer games tend to sell better than single player adventures. They also typically generate more lifetime value for each customer. And as budgets increase for Sony, that could sprinkle in a few of these games to potentially offset the cost of a $ 200 million sequel to The Last of Us.

Sony Interactive Entertainment Profits From Relationships In Europe

Firesprite, Housemarque and Nixxies are all European studios. Sony probably ends up with many of these teams simply because it has the advantage of working closely with them. Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan and Hulst both have pre-existing relationships with all of these studios. And that probably helps Sony beat rivals like Microsoft and Tencent.

In addition, these teams could prove profitable for Sony thanks to the high number of programmers and skilled artists in Europe.

But whatever Sony ends up doing with its new studios, the company is showing it knows it is fighting. And while he may not have the thick wallet of a Microsoft or Tencent, he capitalizes on his experience working with studios keen to make great games. And it might end up being more important in the end.

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Mildred Lasky

The author Mildred Lasky