Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan recently told the publication Nikkei (translated by Gematsu) that Sony is considering mergers and acquisitions of game development companies. He didn’t give any insight into specific studios Sony is considering but there are options out there as Sony prepares for the next-generation PlayStation 5.
“Companies new to the games industry looking at the market with hope is something we definitely welcome,” Ryan said. Sony is cultivating relationships with bigger game publishers ahead of the PS5 launch and smaller studios, seemingly, aren’t being prioritized. That could impact the conversations with these studios but there’s still time to shift the narrative.
Sony missed out in a big way by not securing Ninja Theory before Microsoft scooped the studio up to work on Xbox games. The studio already had an established relationship with the PlayStation brand after it developed Heavenly Sword exclusively for PS3. Ninja Theory was also at a high point coming off the indie-developed action game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. That studio off the table but there are a handful of others available.
The studio behind the Hitman franchise got away from Square Enix after being acquired by the publisher as part of a deal where Eidos Interactive was purchased and took the assassin property with them. Hitman 2, the latest release from IO, has been critically well received and would be a recognizable name that Sony would be able to pivot into a major PS5 exclusive series.
This one is highly unlikely considering Bungie has gotten out of deals with Microsoft and, most recently, Activision but it would fill one of the biggest voids in the PlayStation brand’s exclusive library of games: First-person shooters. Considering the reach of Destiny 2, a deal between Sony and Bungie would have an incredibly high price but it would surely send ripples around the industry.
A somewhat more likely but very different option for a studio specializing in first-person shooters is 4A Games, the studio behind Metro Exodus. The studio’s track record fits with PlayStation’s knack for story-driven games but support from Sony could give 4A Games the resources to create a multiplayer shooter. An even more far-fetched idea is that Sony gets 4A working with Guerrilla Games on a new Killzone title.
This particular studio is the most unknown quantity of the bunch seeing as Bonfire Studios has yet to publish a game. The studio is made up of creators that have worked on games like Overwatch, Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain, Vampire: The Masquerade, Diablo 3, and Star Wars: Battlefront. Little is known publicly about what type of game or games the studio is developing but the remaining job listings for Bonfire mention key moments in Counter-Strike, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Dark Souls.
Hello Games’ relationship with PlayStation may be a bit murky after the chaotic launch of No Man’s Sky but the game evolved into a hit for the community that continues to play it. If the Beyond update is a hit, Sony may find itself interested in securing the next project from Hello Games exclusively for the PS5.