Radical Differences in PlayStation and Xbox Purchase Strategies

Radical Differences in PlayStation and Xbox Purchase Strategies

Sony recently announced that it is buying two more studios: Finnish Housemarque (Returnal) and Nixxes, a PC port developer. To some extent, this looks like a reaction to the aggressive buyout of Microsoft studios, but in reality, the two companies approach buying with completely different strategies and goals.

Sony has had close relationships with several independent partners for a long time, but in recent years, publishers and holdings have begun to actively buy up studios in batches – Microsoft, Tencent, Embracer and others. In such an environment, it is important for Sony to defend its interests and support partners. 

Sony’s approach to studio purchases is much more cautious than other mergers and acquisitions that have taken place in the past couple of years. A radically different approach than what the Xbox is doing, led by Phil Spencer.

Microsoft’s strategy looks like a feverish buyout of the best talent. And Bethesda is the diamond in this crown that shocked the gaming industry. Bethesda studios will not only significantly expand the lineup of Xbox games, but will also replenish the library of games on the Game Pass service.

However, such a purchase does not fit into the stories of management. According to Phil Spencer and Matt Bootie, the company was looking for studios that could add new types of games and attract different audiences. Japanese, family, for the Asian market … they didn’t need more RPGs and shooters. But with Bethesda, they get exactly that.

That doesn’t mean Bethesda isn’t of great value to Microsoft. Fans of shooters and RPGs should definitely pay attention to the Xbox releases in two to three or four years. But this only adds depth to the Xbox library, not expands its repertoire. 

Against this background, Sony’s actions look strategic and completely non-dramatic. Housemarque was already a longtime partner, and the Returnal release only confirmed the studio’s value. Moreover, Sony played a large role in the development of the independent studio.

And then there’s Bluepoint, which Sony didn’t buy last week, despite a PlayStation Japan tweet. The purchase is rumored to be announced at the upcoming Playstation Experience. And when it comes to that, the decision will not be unexpected, but a natural development of relations. Bluepoint has been working with Sony for many years, but does not create games itself, but is engaged in remasters and remakes – Demon’s Souls has become an excellent release title for the PS5.

The way Sony bought Housemarque is typical of the PlayStation. First, a couple of dates, which can develop into a relationship, and then a wedding and common children.

This year alone, PlayStation announced that it has entered into a relationship with three new companies: Haven Studios, Firewalk Studios and Deviation Games. These are completely new teams that have not distinguished themselves in anything yet, but they include the people who worked on Assassin’s Creed, Destiny and Call of Duty.

Sony has invested in Haven (Jade Raymond’s new studio) and is also publishing the first games of two other teams. All three will have access to internal PlayStation resources and support for PlayStation Studios. This does not mean that dating this trio will lead to a long-term relationship, but even if something works out with one, then this is already an achievement. Relationships between Sony and Naughty Dog, Guerrilla, Media Molecule, and even Insomniac took shape in a similar way.

Ultimately, Sony never went shopping crazy, grabbing anything that wasn’t nailed to the floor. The Japanese approach is based on the results of cooperation – if a partner succeeds or opens up a new area for business, then this is an occasion to think about a deeper connection. Sony has never been a company that can shell out $ 7.5 billion for Bethesda right off the bat. 

All of this does not mean that Sony’s approach is better than Microsoft. They are just completely different and quite competitive. Companies have different motivations and methods, and both can be successful with them.

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