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Sony Interactive Entertainment has made another acquisition. This time around, the company has brought British studio Firesprite into the PlayStation Studios fold. Firesprite joins Nixxies and Housemarque as Sony looks to continue growing its pool of game developers. Firesprite is best known for contributing to PlayStation Playroom experimental games for its VR camera and 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 believe this is a role that he is now ready for, which is developing exclusive games for PlayStation Studios,” said Hulst. in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz.
According to job listings, Firespite is hiring for a multiplayer shooter and blockbuster adventure based on the narrative. And some key members of the 250-employee studio come from Sony’s Liverpool studio that was responsible for the sci-fi racing series Wipeout. So, expect Firesprite to take on a similar role to Insomniac Games, which is a studio with a similar footprint in terms of size. But also expect it to work quickly to build your own voice, which is something Hulst emphasized is important to Sony.
“The experiences you can expect [from Firesprite] It will be quite different from the equipment you are familiar with at PlayStation Studios, ”Hulst said. “And I like that. I think our audience, our community, deserves very rich and very different experiences. At the end of the day, that’s what makes us stronger.”
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At the same time, Firesprite fits a pattern that suggests Sony is looking for something specific from its studio acquisitions.
PlayStation wants variety, but it also wants to appeal to a global audience
When Hulst talks about the desire for different experiences, he is probably not referring to anything too experimental. After all, the company Japan Studios recently closed, which helped create and foster some of the most outlandish game ideas on PlayStation. So while Hulst explicitly points to variety as an explanation for Sony’s recent acquisitions, the publisher looks for variety with limits.
Sony believes that developers like Housemarque and Firesprite can produce high-quality games while maintaining global appeal. And Firesprite could accomplish that by taking a different path than its new sister studios. Sony has a lock on a certain type of blockbuster adventure, and while all the games could be more cinematic and Sony-like, the company doesn’t need another Naughty Dog.
Instead, you’re likely hoping to build the Naughty Dog or 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 out-sell single-player adventures. They also tend to generate more lifetime value from each customer. And as Sony budgets increase, some of those games may be added to potentially offset the cost of a $ 200 million sequel to The Last of Us.
Sony Interactive Entertainment is capitalizing on its relationships in Europe
Firesprite, Housemarque and Nixxies are all European studios. Sony is likely to end up with many of these teams simply because it has the advantage that it has worked closely with them. Both Sony Interactive Entertainment President Jim Ryan and Hulst have pre-existing relationships with all of these studios. And that probably helps Sony beat competitors like Microsoft and Tencent.
In addition, this equipment could be profitable for Sony thanks to the large number of trained programmers and artists in Europe.
But whatever Sony ends up doing with its new studios, the company is showing that it knows it is in a fight. And while you may not have the thick wallet of Microsoft or Tencent, you are capitalizing on your experience working with studios that care about making great games. And that could end up being more important in the end.
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