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Opinion Sony investor opines SIE in growth mode and could have a budget of $13-$18B for acquisitions

cormack12

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Source: https://marsipangames.com/inspecting-and-dissecting-sonys-acquisition-strategy/
.....much more at link

Seems speculative to me, but worth a discussion cos I'm fed up of the era shit now.

In a world where multiple industries are quickly moving toward consolidation, Sony is one of the most curious companies involved. Between gaming, movies, anime, technology, and even music – they’re one of the most diverse companies on the matter.

With the rise of consolidation that has taken over the entertainment history, so has the amount of misinformation and bad takes on acquisitions. As I both own stock within Sony and have a good point of view on their plans, budgets, and stuff like that – I feel very comfortable in talking about the subject, and in the process hopefully learn a few people about their supposed strategies and plans.

The biggest part for Sony during the 2010s has perhaps been that they paid off almost all of their loans, and have worked on increasing their cash on hand to end up in a much better and secure position. The company we have in front of us today is a very different one than what they were 10 years ago.

A great tool to see how companies Cash on Hand has changed throughout the years is MacroTrends. Using the tool, and looking back at earlier years we can put into context how they’ve changed during the last 10 years. In 2010, their cash on hand was around $18B, in 2015 when they’d begun making a lot of changes and paying off debt, we were looking at a low point of $13B. However, now in 2021, they’ve all of the sudden reached one of the highest points the company has ever had- over $44B cash on hand, with almost 0 debt.

  • Sony Interactive Entertainment
    • The final – and biggest part of Sony, is PlayStation. The latest decade Sony has strengthened its position as the most important piece of Sony, and with some necassary and well placed management changes – like appointing Shuhei Yoshida to head of Indies, Hermen Hulst as head of PS Studios, and Jim Ryan as head of PlayStation has been hugely benefitial for the segment. Aside from that they have finally found their stride on exclusive content, as in a place where they’ve fixed their problems and gotten a hold on their entire segment, which allows for them to focus on expansions instead of problem solving – something their competitors needs to figure out for themselves. Even if Sony hasn’t outright stated it yet, Mergers & Acquisitions will be one of the keypoints in this area. The truth is, while there are growth vectors for PlayStation, they are in such a great position already that they really only want to focus on expanding the amount of content for the platform – and locking down content exclusivley for the platform. In a weird way, this is the opposite strategy of Sony Pictures, in which SPE makes acquisitions that help them license out properties, while SIE instead focuses on locking away content from competitors. For now the acquisitions have been securing important teams and partners to Sony, but this might not be the case starting the next Fiscal Year, in which it’s believed that Sony – and more specifically SIE, will be very aggressive acquisitions wise. More on this late

Historically, Sony has made a lot of acquisitions – it’s often forgotten that most PlayStation studios are one way or another acquired once upon a time. But most acquisitions are pretty “organic” – essentially, Sony needs to do it to grow in a certain area or even from a need of securing its partners to advance them even further. Very rarely has Sony been very aggressive with their acquisitions.

Where we currently see the biggest change is actually in how their acquisitions are made. Historically, the different Sony segments have more or less went to the leaders/the board of Sony, and said that “We want to acquire X, because of these reasons”. If the board accepts this, they essentially give them a set amount sum of money to use. (Authors Note: This is obviously very simplified, but in general how it historically has looked.)

But this has changed very recently. Again, using the excellent Macrotrends website, we can see that Sony deposited around $24B this summer. Some people seem to believe that this is because a large acquisition is in motion, this isn’t true. This is essentially Sony taking from their “Cash on Hand” to essentially create their first M&A Focused budget.



So what would the budget split be? Well, if I would make guesses on how the budget could be split between the segments. My guess would be that SIE has around $13B-£18B in the budget, while the rest is pretty evenly split between Sony Music & Sony Pictures, with a bigger cut going to Sony Music. (Remember that Funimation falls under the Music branch). This is based on their strategy as well as how they’re prioritizing the different segments within the company.

While I could speculate (And have pretty good guesses) on what the exact acquisitions Sony will make between today, and 2023, I think it’s pretty pointless all things considered to speculate about the exact companies that they will/could acquire going forward. But there are certain growth vectors for each segment that I find more interesting to talk about. Let’s go over what I think will happen M&A-wise for Sony.

  • Sony Interactive Entertainment
    • Sony has ironed out most problems with their internal studios, and PlayStation 5 is going very strong forward as of now. The current focus is growth. Their internal studios both have (insanenly big) goals for growth, with most studios growing to multiple teams within each studio. Focus here is effenciency, and goal is for (almost) every developer being able to develop on a similar pace as Insomniac has been doing, which means 2-4 games in development at each developer.
      At the same time, they want to secure content and teams they deem as necessary for future growth and potential. Currently they’re in a phase of acquiring and locking down partners, as Firesprite, Housemarque, and Bluepoint. This will surely continue until around March 2022 (End of FY21), in which I suspect the strategy will shift toward more “aggressive” acquisitions to secure content.
      Areas I believe Sony see potential of growth within are VR, in which I suspect they’ll lock down 1-3 developers that are focused in the space. Multiplayer is also a growth area, and Sony sees the genre as a fickle one as it’s hard to tell if a game will be a success or not, this has been solved by signing partnerships with studios like Haven Studios, Deviation Games, and FireWalk. If the game is deemed a success, we’re guaranteed to see acquisitions in this area. Aside from that I’m also expecting some kind of acquisition in countries / areas in which Sony is lacking in. I believe there could be multiple companies of interest in the East, mainly Japan and China, but also in parts of Europe as Poland, or maybe even Canada – one of the biggest development scenes in which Sony is currently lacking in. We also cannot forget about teams that could help out with support, as well as mobile which will get a push from Sony going forward. There’s also the matter of Sony co-owning EVO and potentially wanting to lockdown a fighting game developer going forward.
 

Mr Hyde

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I'm tired of this consolidation shit that is going on in the entertainment business and how much focus its gotten in the last couple of years. It seems that the only thing everyone wants to talk about is acquisitions and how many studios that these companies have. It's all bullshit if you ask me.
 

Rikkori

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Tbh I most care about smaller AA studio productions, so in the end these kinds of AAA studios MS/Sony want to fight over mean nothing to me. Gonna be some bland soup shit they try to mass market - not gonna be missed.
 
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Badlucktroll

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Konami is huge, video games are like a freckle on the company.
Well i read that it would cost a little bit
less than what Microsoft paid for Bethesda. And Sony could just sell off the casino/gym subsidiaries to other japanese companies to recoup some of what they paid.
 

Keihart

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Well i read that it would cost a little bit
less than what Microsoft paid for Bethesda. And Sony could just sell off the casino/gym subsidiaries to other japanese companies to recoup some of what they paid.
Don't see it happening on a Wednesday.
And for what? Pachinko and arcade machines? i love arcades but Sony doesn't look interested on it.

 
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WilboWaggins

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I'm tired of this consolidation shit that is going on in the entertainment business and how much focus its gotten in the last couple of years. It seems that the only thing everyone wants to talk about is acquisitions and how many studios that these companies have. It's all bullshit if you ask me.
Depends what studios they intend to acquire. If they buy those that have almost always exclusively worked with Sony I don't see it as a problem. If they start going after studios or publishers that make multi-platform games then it's bulllshit.
 

MonarchJT

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those are possibly 6b per year for ALL the company ...expecially the movie side. If people thing that Sony will move 4 or 5b Ina single acquisitionnfor the PlayStation side they don't really have their feet on the ground. Will never happen. I open an bet on my personal account with permban that will last 3 years about it ))
 
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Heisenberg007

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I'm pretty sure Kadokawa is a target, and Sony will acquire it sooner or later.

Hermen Hulst keeps mentioning FromSoftware as an "almost first-party PlayStation studio". No way that they don't even make an attempt to buy it. Something is in the works, for sure.
 

skit_data

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I thought Sony was broke, at least that’s what I’ve been told.
/s

I find it unlikely that all this would be PlayStation affiliated acquisition-money but they clearly are in a expanding phase, so I expect at least something to come of it.
 

Heisenberg007

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I thought acquisitions were bad and not be celebrated?
Of multiplatform publishers, yes, they are bad and should not be celebrated.

Having said that, if your competitor starts doing it and hints at acquiring even more publishers, you can't just sit on your asses. In my books, Sony gets a pass for buying one big multiplatform publisher, just because of that Bethesda's purchase, just to balance things again so it'd be 1-1.

If Sony buys two publishers, it's bad and should not be celebrated.
 

bitbydeath

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those are possibly 6b per year for ALL the company ...expecially the movie side. If people thing that Sony will move 4 or 5b Ina single acquisitionnfor the PlayStation side they don't really have their feet on the ground. Will never happen. I open an bet on my personal account with permban that will last 3 years about it ))
Depends on the acquisition. Straight games, yeah probably not. But if it leads to IP / content that will benefit their other segments as well such as movies then they could definitely pull the trigger.
 
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Sony have made like 5 acquisitions in the space of a year. They are definitely ramping up in that area. They are probably looking to aquire kojima productions next, as they have a long history together. it's a good strategy that has got them where they at today. I wonder what their 1st party output looks like in 10 years from now.
 
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Badlucktroll

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I'm pretty sure Kadokawa is a target, and Sony will acquire it sooner or later.

Hermen Hulst keeps mentioning FromSoftware as an "almost first-party PlayStation studio". No way that they don't even make an attempt to buy it. Something is in the works, for sure.
Yeah i was thinking the same thing. Just watch.
And i hope my dream of Sony making the major Konami IPs first party comes true.
 

DJ Shalad

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I thought acquisitions were bad and not be celebrated?
"Huge" limits the potentials. And because I'm still drinking my morning coffee, lets speculate:

Sony purchasing
Square Enix would make sense, they have a long history. This would Sony's version of the Bethesda deal.
Microsoft purchasing Konami, or at least their video game development, could be part of a push into the Japanese market. Unlikely, though.
EA or Activision buying out Nordic THQ is a potential. They've been buying up IPs for years and could make for a good grab.
And, of course, the inevitable Microsoft buying Sega. As long as they resurrect Fantasy Zone, I'm in.

BIG TIME SHILLING

Good Lord, this gave me a good laugh :messenger_grinning_sweat: Please, don't ever become involved in running a business.

Firstly, you clearly have no concept of the scope of Microsoft's wealth. They paid $8.6 billion for Skype, and wrote off a $6 billion loss two years later. $7.5 billion is a smaller purchase at this tier; it's not enough to challenge the very concept of what an exclusive platform holder is or does. You're laughable wrong if you think $7.5 billion is somehow too much money for Microsoft.

Secondly, you clearly have no concept of Microsoft's MO. Anyone who thinks fucking Microsoft is going to share needs to cut back on their daily intake cope-ium. Microsoft 101: walk into an industry you want to dominate and write a blank cheque. Back when they wanted to enter the video game industry, they didn't fuck around: they walked up to Nintendo and offered to buy it. For cash. They were laughed out of the room, so, they went with plan B instead: build the Xbox platform from scratch, knowing they'd lose billions until the brand was established. So, Microsoft 102: In the industry you want to dominate, stop other people from getting the milk. A couple of hundred million for Rare, a couple of hundred million for Bungie - which pissed Steve Jobs off - and a couple hundred million here and there for some exclusive deals, and boom: Xbox brand is now a thing. Easy. With Bethesda, they could've had marketing deals for pennies in comparison, like with Cyberpunk. Heck, they could've had Gamepass day one access for the next ten years for every Bethesda title for a billion and change. They didn't want either of those things; they bought the cow, because Microsoft doesn't like to share the milk.
Now, at this point you'll cling to "but.. but.. Minecraft" and magically ignore every other purchase in the history of Microsoft including all of their other video game development purchases they've made since Minecraft. So, ok, Minecraft. That decision was made outside of the Xbox division, and according the Nadella, it was about cultural relevance, at a time when Microsoft was on the way out in the consumer space. So, Microsoft paid $2.5 billion dollars to make sure the Microsoft and Xbox logos were associated with the biggest game in the world, and it's paid for itself many, many times over. There's a reason Coca Cola likes to get its vending machines into schools, after all.

Thirdly, you clearly have no concept of platform adoption techniques. So, pick your strategy; here, it looks like Microsoft's is some variation of the little big horn: surround you with their stuff until you crack and buy in because you just can't not do it. They just bought up so many established brands that people who weren't looking at their platforms now can't not look at their platform. Gamers will cave and buy in because Microsoft just so happens to have a cheap console, and a cheap subscription service, where you can get access to whichever franchise you love. Oh, you're on PC? No problem, their platform is on PC. Oh, you're on mobile? No problem, their platform is on mobile. Oh, not sure if it's for you? Try the first month for $1. This approach drives platform adoption because who the heck won't pickup Gamepass to play Starfield or Elder Scrolls VI? Microsoft are banking that once you're in, you'll realise everything else that's there and stick around. That all drives platform revenue; DLC, Microtransactions, subscriptions, game sales, and so forth. $7.5 billion is a small price to pay for the millions upon millions of new platform adopters it'll create. They're at 18 million on Gamepass as of today and they haven't even dropped big exclusives yet. Easy to say: their strategy is working and they're just getting started.

And lastly, as an extension of the above, you clearly have no concept of how platform exclusives play into adoption. Sony made close to a $1 billion last quarter off of their PS Store platform alone, mostly off of third party title purchases, because Sony have aggressively driven adoption of their platform. The sales of any one title are largely useless when we're talking that kind of money at a platform level. Your terrible opinion is basically "Xbox is too small to have such big exclusives". So, how do you propose they grow their platform without such big exclusives? So, let's look at PlayStation with your broken logic. Obviously, Sony must be porting Spider-man to all Microsoft platforms because it would simply lose too much money not to on such a massive property. Marvel is the biggest franchise in the world right now, there is no way Sony's shareholders would allow them to cut out the entire PC and Xbox platforms for some fanboy pissing contest. Right? Lol - of course it's bloody exclusive, and rightfully so: people buy PlayStations to play Spider-man, and all the other exclusives, which is why they've sold 120+ million PS4s. Those sales mean 120 million people spending money on the PlayStation platform. That's how they made $1 billion on third party purchases in three months. Sony would probably sell another 5 or so million copies of Spider-man if they released it on Xbox; but they'd lose hundreds and hundreds of millions on platform-level revenue from people who didn't buy a PlayStation to play it. That's how PlayStation makes its money.
For Microsoft, if they lose $200 million in revenue on Starfield because it cut out PlayStation - but - Starfield drives new platform adopters whose spending eclipses $300 million across the entire Xbox platform, be it on PC, Mobile, or console, that's a big win for Microsoft, even if it looks like a loss on Starfield in isolation. Add up all the other exclusives, and the $7.5 billion they just paid is poultry; that purchase can pay for itself in a relatively short period of time, and now Microsoft has tens of millions of new platform adopters that'll stick around. That's how they're going to grow their platform.

But, please, feel free to cling to whatever you think Microsoft's CFO may or may not have possibly meant by a hint they may or may not have possibly dropped about a deal that is in-complete and thus illegal to comment on. I'm sure he threw a wink to all the PlayStation fans, just to let them know Microsoft, a company sued by the American government for anti-trust practices, who spent billions upon billions of dollars to dominate their industries, who spent a couple of years to set up a deal to buy a privately owned video game publisher for $7.5 billion dollars... plans to do absolutely nothing with it. Makes perfect sense :'D
Hypocrite GIF by Lagoona Bloo
 

Elios83

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Kadokawa is the only big releastic target I see.
They have common interests in multiple businesses (anime, games) and Sony is clearly interested in them since they have already invested in them and there's a partnership agreement in place.

But in general the approach of buying smaller talented teams they already know and trust to deliver great games is the best one to get the biggest returns and integrate the new teams into an already existing structure without restructuring, redundancies, inefficiencies and losses.
Just think what they got out of Insomniac at 229 millions. That's a great way to improve their business.
They would have already eyed Kojima Productions if unfortunately the value of that studio wasn't so closely related to a single (now close to retirement age) person.
 
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ZehDon

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Hypocrite GIF by Lagoona Bloo
A lot of work to express “I didn’t understand your post(s), but I wanna post a gotcha”. Better luck next time, I guess.
 

Yoboman

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Why would you need $18 billion to lock up a couple VR devs and Indies?

I expect whatever Sony is looking to acquire probably isn't gaming related and will end up being something weird like an insurance company or a memory manufacturer

Despite gaming producing the most for Sony they give back very little to it for mergers and acquisitions

But if they are going to go wild and buy something big then Square Enix would be a good fit. They already produce a lot of exclusive content for Sony so it wouldn't be taking too much from gamers on other platforms and would make a nice RPG war between Xbox and PS

Also feels like a lever they really need to pull if they want to stay relevant in Japan. Locking up Dragon Quest would be an auto 3-4 million console sales
 
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bitbydeath

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Why would you need $18 billion to lock up a couple VR devs and Indies?

I expect whatever Sony is looking to acquire probably isn't gaming related and will end up being something weird like an insurance company or a memory manufacturer

Despite gaming producing the most for Sony they give back very little to it for mergers and acquisitions

But if they are going to go wild and buy something big then Square Enix would be a good fit. They already produce a lot of exclusive content for Sony so it wouldn't be taking too much from gamers on other platforms and would make a nice RPG war between Xbox and PS
SIE was recently hiring for M&A again so they’re still on the hunt.

 

MonarchJT

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Why would you need $18 billion to lock up a couple VR devs and Indies?

I expect whatever Sony is looking to acquire probably isn't gaming related and will end up being something weird like an insurance company or a memory manufacturer

Despite gaming producing the most for Sony they give back very little to it for mergers and acquisitions

But if they are going to go wild and buy something big then Square Enix would be a good fit. They already produce a lot of exclusive content for Sony so it wouldn't be taking too much from gamers on other platforms and would make a nice RPG war between Xbox and PS

Also feels like a lever they really need to pull if they want to stay relevant in Japan. Locking up Dragon Quest would be an auto 3-4 million console sales
probably but if this crazy thing happen i see square enix sell crystal d. to Ms before
 

Heisenberg007

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Why would you need $18 billion to lock up a couple VR devs and Indies?

I expect whatever Sony is looking to acquire probably isn't gaming related and will end up being something weird like an insurance company or a memory manufacturer

Despite gaming producing the most for Sony they give back very little to it for mergers and acquisitions

But if they are going to go wild and buy something big then Square Enix would be a good fit. They already produce a lot of exclusive content for Sony so it wouldn't be taking too much from gamers on other platforms and would make a nice RPG war between Xbox and PS

Also feels like a lever they really need to pull if they want to stay relevant in Japan. Locking up Dragon Quest would be an auto 3-4 million console sales
No, this $18 billion is just for the 'Entertainment' sector. Unless they plan to have strippers at their insurance companies, that doesn't fit into the entertainment category 😄

It'll be mainly between three sectors: Sony Pictures, Sony Mobile, and PlayStation.

Sony Pictures' Head has already confirmed that they are almost done with acquisitions, and the next target area for consolidation is gaming. That leaves PS mobile and PlayStation. Considering the urgency and the trend so far, the majority of that budget will go to PlayStation. The IPs they create in PlayStation will be ported and made into mobile games, so the priority will remain PS after all.

And I know most people just pick Square Enix, I think Capcom would be a much better option. They already have SE's best IP (Final Fantasy) on lock. Any new IP that SE creates, Sony can lock it as timed or full exclusives as well (e.g., Forspoken).

With Capcom, they get Street Fighter (for Evo), Monster Hunter (penetration into that Nintendo market and Japan), Resident Evil (Japan + PSVR 2), DMC, and more. Making all these games exclusive to PlayStation would be on the executives mind after Bethesda's loss. Apart from that, I think Kadokawa or FromSoftware is a surefire target as well.

Let's see what they do and how they do it. But there is absolutely 100% something big coming. Too much official evidence to say otherwise.
 
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Ms and CD have a very strong relation and they could make easily a rival of naughty dog game with proper funds Ms know this

What strong relationship is this?

Funding is not the issue for CD. They aren't some struggling indie dev. If they can't make a ND game with SQ money then they can't do it with MS money either
 
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Hezekiah

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Fingers are crossed that they decide to aquire
Konami
Konami in 2021? Are they even still a top developer, only got IPs imo.
I'm pretty sure Kadokawa is a target, and Sony will acquire it sooner or later.

Hermen Hulst keeps mentioning FromSoftware as an "almost first-party PlayStation studio". No way that they don't even make an attempt to buy it. Something is in the works, for sure.
Is the right answer. Makes perfect sense given their close relationship, and the consistent quality of From's games. The fact that they produce games at a relatively quick pace makes them even more enticing.
Sony have made like 5 acquisitions in the space of a year. They are definitely ramping up in that area. They are probably looking to aquire kojima productions next, as they have a long history together. it's a good strategy that has got them where they at today. I wonder what their 1st party output looks like in 10 years from now.
They will definitely acquire more studios, not to mention the recruitment of more staff in their existing major studios. It's clear we are going to see an increase in first-party output to really hammer home the PS5's dominance and the speed it's selling at.
 

MonarchJT

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i did know that questioning CD studio about this hypothetical Sony's acquisition of a big publisher like Square Enix (which obviously never will happen) would have aroused the ire of some haha

they are doing acquisition guys ...we are seeing already the level of the acquisitions
 
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yurinka

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Great analysis.

I think they'll get:
-ARC System Works for EVO and anime games.
-Supermassive for PS Now (and VR?) friendly games.
-Quantic Dream for PS Now (and VR?) friendly games.
-Some Japanese or Chinese dev huge in the mobile + PC F2P markets, to specially cover Asia.
-Kojipro: in addition to games, they would also like to work on a movie or in an anime, but Kojima won't be making games forever so he needs to start mentoring people to replace him in the future.

I think it's very difficult but they could also get:
-Kadokawa (or at least pasts of it) to get From and some extra Japanese minor studios and publishers, tons of PS1-PS4 exclusive catalog games for PS Now, manga & anime IPs and content for their streaming services, movies for Sony Pictures
-Capcom to get multiplayer (MH+SF), fighting games (SF, EVO), VR (RE), Japanese gaming market (MH+RE), blocking important Nintendo 3rd party support/securing themselves against hypotetical future exclusives (MH), IPs for gaming based movies, anime and tv series (plus already existing and successful related catalog movies and anime), tons of gaming history classics for PS Now content, mobile games

13 billion could be enough to buy Cerny Games.

Knack security.
I know you're kidding, but other than the Knacks Cerny made a very important job across all the PS generations: not only as the hardware architect of PS4, PS Vita and PS5, but getting feedback and suggestions from the main studios to keep improving the consoles and also working in many of the most important PlayStation exclusive game series from studios like Naughty Dog, Insomniac or Japan Studios (Crash, Spyro, Jak, Ratchet, Resistance, Killzone, Uncharted, The Last Guardian, Spider-Man, Death Stranding etc).

cormack12 said:
"Jim Ryan as head of PlayStation has been hugely beneficial"

For who 👀? PC players? Lol
Mostly PS players who are getting/will get more greatly reviewed, many of them GOTY winners or candidates, exclusive games than ever thanks to that growth. They also mentioned PS5 will have more exclusive games than any other previous PS, which means they will also invest hard on 3rd party exclusives since it's where they traditionally had a huge portion of their exclusives.

And well, to their investors too since they are making more revenue and profit than ever even breaking many gaming industry historical records.

PC players will only get maybe 3 or 4 ports per year of games that are several years old. And maybe in a few cases a GaaS MP game (specially if F2P) day one or at least closer to launch.

Why would you need $18 billion to lock up a couple VR devs and Indies?
I don't remember if it was a credible leak or a rumor, but they mentioned Sony's focus for PSVR2 was to put there AAA games ready to be played both in the TV or in VR instead of focusing on the tiny experiences.

So if true, when thinking in VR games they may be thinking on more polished VR experiences of what GT and REVII were. Or maybe games from Quantic Dream or Supermassive with optional VR support.

We aren't talking about small indie studios. We're talking about big AAA studios or maybe even publishers.
 
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Keihart

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They wouldn’t need to acquire the whole of Konami, just purchase their video games division. I'm sure they’d divest (to a Japanese company) for the right price.
Sure, i just don't see them purchasing Konami's video game division...i mean, for what? for the names of the IPs? It's not like there are amazingly talented dev tems pumping out games at Konami today.
The arcade division is successful and adapting to the times, but nobody seems to want to go in there right now, Sega just sold 80% of their arcades this year.
If we are talking a japanese spending spree by Sony, i think the sensible options is SquareEnix, lots of famous IPs and dev teams actively working on games with good reception already.
 
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I thought acquisitions were bad and not be celebrated?

Not all acquisitions are the same.

First Parties acquiring companies that have made or make exclusive games or technology for their platform doesn't meaningfully change anything for the industry or for gamers.

Acquiring previously MP devs/pubs is the anti-consumer shit that should be derided.
 
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Mar 7, 2017
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Ms and CD have a very strong relation and they could make easily a rival of naughty dog game with proper funds Ms know this
drive off 50 cent GIF


If they could so easily, why wouldn't SE just give them more funds to?

Some of you are delusional.

Making top tier games at the level of ND and Rockstar isn't just about fucking money. It has more to do with talent than anything else.... like at all.