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Opinion Business Game Dev Sony says it will ‘aggressively’ invest in first-party studios and partnerships this year

Men_in_Boxes

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thats mixing apples with oranges

studio acquisition cost is not equivalent to annual operating spend

How do the costs break down?

I mean, Sony invested 450 million into Epic Games. By your logic, that money could have been spent on the equivalent of adding...(calculating)...8 Naughty Dogs.

Why not just create 23 Naughty Dogs to compete with Microsofts 23 non Naughty Dog studios?

Also, I can buy .01 Naughty Dogs...and I will.
 

SlimySnake

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Sony needs to buy more studios. They should have bought HouseMarque and BluePoint Games Yesterday.
Maybe. Studio purchases can get really expensive. And as much as I like BP, I'd rather they give Neil and Cory multiple teams with 300 people each to make games simultaneously instead of having to wait 3-4 years for one game to finish before they can work on a new one. Neil said that he has the outline for TLOU3's story ready but they wont be working on it right away. My question is why not? If they are working on a new IP, why cant Neil go and make TLOU3 with a different team concurrently?

The answer is because they only have 300 developers and you cant work on two games at once with just 300 people. If Sony invests $183 million in something, id rather it go towards getting Neil 300 devs than purchasing the 100 person Bluepoint studio.
 
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DeepEnigma

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It's infuriating to see sony be so conservative. I think there is some truth to how PS is treated like a stepson when they are the ones bringing in all the money. That said, like James Sawyer Ford James Sawyer Ford said, $183 million is a lot of money to invest in one year.

Personally i'd rather it be close to $500 million because its clear to me that gaming is their most profitable venture, but $200 million in first party studios is nothing to scoff at. I'd argue that its a bit too late since those new hires wont really start to release games 3-4 years down the line but while we might see some really dry spells from Sony in the next 2-3 years, their mid to end gen should be stacked with games.

i agree that I wish they’d just buy Housemarque and Bluepoint. Maybe they feel their relationship is so strong they don’t need to? But honestly when you own a studio you’re more likely to give them a bigger leash, which id like to see
 
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How do the costs break down?

I mean, Sony invested 450 million into Epic Games. By your logic, that money could have been spent on the equivalent of adding...(calculating)...8 Naughty Dogs.

Why not just create 23 Naughty Dogs to compete with Microsofts 23 non Naughty Dog studios?

Also, I can buy .01 Naughty Dogs...and I will.

Existing studios are already operational. You can’t just go out and make 23 new naughty dogs overnight

when you pay money for existing studios a large portion of the cost is related to IP value
 

Neo_game

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I do not think they are going to buy or make new studio. It seems like building their current team and timed or second party exclusives
 

SlimySnake

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i agree that I wish they’d just buy Housemarque and Bluepoint. Maybe they feel their relationship is so strong they don’t need to? But honestly when you own a studio you’re more likely to give them a bigger leash, which id like to see
see above. Id rather they give that acquisition money to ND, SSM and GG. I love BP going back to the days when they made the MGS2 and Snake Eater remasters but i think the money is better spent on studios like ND and SSM. Cory and Neil are proven directors, but there is clearly a lot of talent at these studios and Sony needs to make sure they are given their own games and teams instead of just lurking behind Neil's shadow.
 
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Unknown?

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I'm happy Sony are trying to get some positive news out there after the last month or so!
It's clear the last month or so has been complete BS from a fanbase(and possibly even corporation that is known to do this kind of thing) now. They tried hard and failed.
 
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yurinka

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1,000 devs x 2,000 hrs/yr x $91/hr = 183M

I don’t know if $91/hr is overstated but that includes overhead costs and benefits per hour on average per employee

note; this doesn’t mean the employee is directly earning this hourly rate, just what it costs the company to employ them on average when factoring in everything
183M for 1000 devs is a yearly cost of $183K/dev if all of them would have started to work on April 1st.

This cost is even way higher than the average dev cost for USA and Canada. Only execs, leads and other people in top positions from top studios of a few countries like USA or Canada have these salaries (+other costs like office related stuff/taxes/benefits/etc), and they represent a tiny portion of the total amount of devs.

An $50K-$100K average is more realistic for the top countries, and around $50K or less for many European and Asian countries.

Think that with all the upcoming 1st, 2nd and 3rd party AAAA games they will need to open more outsourcing studios in cheap countries like China, India, Indonesia and so on. Because the existing ones are already saturated, and this generation they will have more work than before.

If you go to Moby Games to read the game credits of the staff in games like the Sony 1st party AAA games, you'll notice that the people from the main studio (Naughty Dog, Bend, etc) is around 10% of the total amount of people who work in these games. There are dozens of other internal an external studios working in many areas, but mostly related to outsourcing art. And most of this outsourcing art are companies who work for EA, MS, Ubisoft, Sony, Activision and so on.
 
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Lemondish

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Look I don’t want to THAT guy but, 184 million is like, one AAA first party game with marketing. Maybe 2. The words “ aggressively investing“ to me, don’t match the description of what they are offering but then again I don’t know how much these things can actually cost.
Well, you've definitely achieved being THAT guy.

$183 million a year is one AAA game? Since when?
 
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183M for 1000 devs is a yearly cost of $183K/dev if all of them would have started to work on April 1st.

This cost is even way higher than the average dev cost for USA and Canada. Only execs, leads and other people in top positions from top studios of a few countries like USA or Canada have these salaries (+other costs like office related stuff/taxes/benefits/etc), and they represent a tiny portion of the total amount of devs.

An $50K-$100K average is more realistic for the top countries, and around $50K or less for many European and Asian countries.

Think that with all the upcoming 1st, 2nd and 3rd party AAAA games they will need to open more outsourcing studios in cheap countries like China, India, Indonesia and so on. Because the existing ones are already saturated, and this generation they will have more work than before.

If you go to Moby Games to read the game credits of the staff in games like the Sony 1st party AAA games, you'll notice that the people from the main studio (Naughty Dog, Bend, etc) is around 10% of the total amount of people who work in these games. There are dozens of other internal an external studios working in many areas, but mostly related to outsourcing art. And most of this outsourcing art are companies who work for EA, MS, Ubisoft, Sony, Activision and so on.

$50-100k per employee is just what the average salaries are

it does not include overhead (real estate, admin, facility costs, tools, software costs) or benefits (healthcare, 401k, paid time off, payroll taxes)

these costs add up to quite a lot. It’s not unheard of to spend 180k per employee but that isn’t what they are each getting paid in salary. That’s just the total cost to employ them
 
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Maxwell Jacob Friedman

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How do the costs break down?

I mean, Sony invested 450 million into Epic Games. By your logic, that money could have been spent on the equivalent of adding...(calculating)...8 Naughty Dogs.

Why not just create 23 Naughty Dogs to compete with Microsofts 23 non Naughty Dog studios?

Also, I can buy .01 Naughty Dogs...and I will.
Because they have a working relationship and get alot of money back from mtx and micro transactions in games funded by Epic, which then leads Sony to getting more money as well and also using their engine etc.
 

SilentUser

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Man, the massive amount of fanboys from others companies trying to spin this in a negative way is impressive!
OT: great news, investing in their own studios while building partnership with others, including new ones like Raven and Firewalk, is what I consider the best proposition to the gaming community.
 

Rayderism

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How about they invest in an IT guy who knows how to make a decent storefront. Not that Sony necessarily notices, but they've GOT to be missing out on even more profit with the way the "new" PSN is now. I know I've been buying a lot less games lately. And who knows how many DLC's I might have bought had they left the "new DLC" listings in place.
 

Unknown?

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Man, the massive amount of fanboys from others companies trying to spin this in a negative way is impressive!
OT: great news, investing in their own studios while building partnership with others, including new ones like Raven and Firewalk, is what I consider the best proposition to the gaming community.
They've been spending all of their time for the past month trying to do this and all of their effort has failed now. It shows you how dire they know things really are.
 
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Techno_Inked

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The best partnership Playstation could get right now in my opinion is with Game Science on the Black Myth: Wukong game.

- The studio is still relatively unknown and small. Partnering with Game Science would therefor not break their wallet.

- Playstation would also gain media attention and goodwill for partnering with Game Science.

- Considering Game Science have said they want to make a trilogy of Wukong games, this is the perfect oppurtunity for Playstation to test out the waters with its first game. If the first game is proven to be succesful and live up to the hype, Playstation could make a move towards acquiring Game Science.

- I see it as a perfect match ready to be made. Clearly, Game Science values freedom, creativity and quality. They have actually expressed this towards Tencent and that is why they departed Tencent to build up their own studio. Playstation is known for valueing creativity and giving studios an oppurtinity to create their own passion projects. This partnership would silence the recent doubters of Playstation's values even more.

- Game Science said they took inspiration from God of War, Sekiro and Monster Hunter World during development with their Black Myth: Wukong game. I would say Game Science would be pretty happy to have closer ties with Santa Monica Studio, which created one of the games they took inspiration from.
 

Azurro

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Not every Bethesda IP that Microsoft purchased as part of the acquisition is a commercial hit but I'm sure you got my point. They didn't just exclusivity on Doom and Fallout, which would have been financially very safe. However, they have done exclusivity deals in the past, which is why complaining would be a double standard. I just happen to think that Bethesda doesn't belong in the same bag as all the other examples of manufacturers locking gamers out based on their device, especially when everything is coming to PC and smartphones.

MS bought a complete publisher with the intent to lock out the competition and secure the software exclusively for themselves and their platforms and services. How is timed exclusivity any different? Especially since they usually don't exclude the PC. It's actually less bad since Xbox owners will eventually see the game, yet they were ecstatic when Bethesda got acquired. Which one is it?
 
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Shelookdlvl18

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"We intend to increase development personnel and other in-house costs by approximately 20bn yen [$183m] year-on-year, as we further strengthen our in-house software"

These extra $183M compared to the previous year are to increase 1st party development studio staff. This means they are to hire a ton of people and probably buy some studio.

It's a different budget of what they have to moneyhat 3rd party deal, and different of what they have for 2nd party games.
I should've clarified better.

The additional $183M will hopefully be spent acquiring additional devs that don't so closely resemble the ones they currently employ.

If they are working with a couple of outside teams, such as Jade Raymond's group, and the Bungie guy's... Maybe some of these additional hires could start out working side by side with either of those groups. Once whatever those projects are release, they could be the foundation of an internal studio that focuses on multiplayer games with all the knowledge they gained.

Ubisoft and Bungie might not always make the best games, or even multiplayer games. But when it comes to multiplayer games specifically, I'd have a hard time naming any other developer who consistently makes more multiplayer games that work the first time... every time. A group of devs hired by Sony and immediately sent to work with devs with that pedigree would return with the kind of knowledge and experience you just can't buy.

Edit: I know many argue and battle over studios, but the truth is that the individuals within the industry jump around all the time. My preference would be for Sony to hire younger, and more inexperienced devs, which would allow them to hire more of them. Then once they get that experience and form their own in house studio with perhaps a few added senior devs from other studios... They'd be much more likely to stay with Sony long term. If they use that money to buy a big time developer, they'll most likely jump ship after one project or so.

Any of this making sense to you. I think it would benefit them in the long run.
 
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Renozokii

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I rather Sony buy small studios and grow them or studios who are in financial hell. Rather Sony buy them them instead of going under or getting money from tencent. Sony could have a arm of small studios for creativity like in the past. Or get one RPG studio ffs instead of timed exclusives.
Shuhei Yoshida, one of Sony’s best talent scouts, is fully in charge of working with small and/or new developers to get them going with PlayStation. I think that’s more fruitful than just buying a bunch of indie teams. Otherwise you get that state decay studio Microsoft for some reason owns.
 

NahaNago

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Yeah. I guess they didn’t saw that coming after 7 years in a row.
Honestly first party although it has been great they have been struggling on the quantity all last gen. They mostly only released one big major first party game a year until I believe last year. They have been mostly relying on time exclusives and Sony funded third party exclusives. The profits from ghost of tsushima, last of us 2, spiderman morales, and even demon souls in one year probably woke them up.
 
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Bladed Thesis

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Existing studios are already operational. You can’t just go out and make 23 new naughty dogs overnight

when you pay money for existing studios a large portion of the cost is related to IP value
This is so true because, in the end, when you own them you'll obviously be paying the salaries. So the cost of buying a studio has little to do with the staff (except in one off circumstances) and almost entirely to do with IP, be it franchises, tech, etc.
 

HYDE

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would be funny if the game produced by bethesda ends up underwhelming
When hasn’t a Bethesda game been underwhelming? They are all huge heaps of buggy ass shit. The only wins Microsoft got are Arkane & Tango. Bethesda itself is trash tier.
 
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I think Sumo Digital would be a potential acquisition candidate for Sony tbh, to work on some more niche titles like Sackboy A Big Adventure and legacy IPs or spin off titles. They have like 8 studios, which would help Sony up their output of those smaller titles titles massively (and allow their juggernaut studios to fully focus on huge AAA titles), they did a stellar job with Sackboy on PS5 and I believe they are publicly traded in the UK with a value of around 600 million GBP, which wouldn’t be too expensive given the influx of studios. Some of those 8 studios could be used as in house support studios too, as I’m pretty sure that’s how some of them operate at Sumo right now.
 

Heisenberg007

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Reading can be hard. It's okay.

Year-on-year means additional investment on top of whatever they have been making. $180 million at $100K per year means 1,800 new employees. At roughly 200 employees per team (which is more than enough for big AAA games), that is 9 new teams, equivalent to 9 new studios in just 2021.
 
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DeepEnigma

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Reading is hard. Let me try making it easier.

Year-on-year means additional investment on top of whatever they have been making. $180 million at $100K per year means 1,800 new employees. At roughly 200 employees per team (which is more than enough for big AAA games), that is 9 new teams, equivalent to 9 new studios in just 2021.
Spending money with imaginary warchests are their favorite IP. Nuance gets lost in the bravado.
 

megreotsugua

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Appears that Sony has seen the downside of having all your developers work closely with each other, sharing tools, feedback, etc...

What do you mean though? Just curious.

Hopefully a chunk of that 183 mil goes towards a dev group that will work with one of the groups involved in those 3rd party deals.

Doesn't Sony already have those teams helping 3rd party devs?

This has the potential to lead to very good things down the road.

Like what?
 

Clear

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i agree that I wish they’d just buy Housemarque and Bluepoint. Maybe they feel their relationship is so strong they don’t need to? But honestly when you own a studio you’re more likely to give them a bigger leash, which id like to see

You need to understand that Sony have most likely invested $100m+ in the Returnal project. There is no way way Housemarque could foot the bill for its development whenb they,ve had basically no income since Nex Machina launched in 2017.
 

Dabaus

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How many more big name independent studios are there left? Theres the Hasbro owned RPG Developer made up of old bioware devs, thatd be a great partnership opportunity but theyre owned by hasbro so if its a success sony couldnt acquire the studio. Kojima productions but it seems that ship has sailed. This seems like a "putting on a band aid to stop the bleeding of a severed arm strategy" at the moment to me what with all the market consolidation and buy outs.
 
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DeepEnigma

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How many more big name independent studios are there left? Theres the Hasbro owned RPG Developer made up of old bioware devs, thatd be a great partnership opportunity but theyre owned by hasbro so if its a success sony couldnt acquire the studio. Kojima productions but it seems that ship has sailed. This seems like a "putting on a band aid to stop the bleeding of a severed arm strategy" at the moment to me what with all the market consolidation and buy outs.
Pug GIF
 

yurinka

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I should've clarified better.

The additional $183M will hopefully be spent acquiring additional devs that don't so closely resemble the ones they currently employ.

If they are working with a couple of outside teams, such as Jade Raymond's group, and the Bungie guy's... Maybe some of these additional hires could start out working side by side with either of those groups. Once whatever those projects are release, they could be the foundation of an internal studio that focuses on multiplayer games with all the knowledge they gained.

Ubisoft and Bungie might not always make the best games, or even multiplayer games. But when it comes to multiplayer games specifically, I'd have a hard time naming any other developer who consistently makes more multiplayer games that work the first time... every time. A group of devs hired by Sony and immediately sent to work with devs with that pedigree would return with the kind of knowledge and experience you just can't buy.

Edit: I know many argue and battle over studios, but the truth is that the individuals within the industry jump around all the time. My preference would be for Sony to hire younger, and more inexperienced devs, which would allow them to hire more of them. Then once they get that experience and form their own in house studio with perhaps a few added senior devs from other studios... They'd be much more likely to stay with Sony long term. If they use that money to buy a big time developer, they'll most likely jump ship after one project or so.

Any of this making sense to you. I think it would benefit them in the long run.
In the original quote they specifically mention it's for internal dev teams. So it's for existing or new 1st party studios, not 2nd or 3rd party. They also specify it's for dev (salary + office/benefit/etc related) costs, not for merge & acquisitions.

They basically said that will spend over $183M more than in the previous year in 1st party salaries & offices.

Budgets for M&A, or to publish & moneyhat 2n party games, or to moneyhat 3rd parties, are on a separate budget.
 

megreotsugua

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Reading can be hard. It's okay.

Year-on-year means additional investment on top of whatever they have been making. $180 million at $100K per year means 1,800 new employees. At roughly 200 employees per team (which is more than enough for big AAA games), that is 9 new teams, equivalent to 9 new studios in just 2021.

The budget probably takes into account infrastructure and new office spaces.

Still, I tend to think Sony will go on a hiring spree. Some will probably come from Bethesda Studios wanting fresh company and new opportunities.
 
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Sony is spending an additional $183 million on increasing manpower, be it hiring new employees or acquiring new studios or building them up from scratch, in addition to the amount of money they're already spending into first-party. I'd say that's a pretty impressive uptick.
 

NahaNago

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How many more big name independent studios are there left? Theres the Hasbro owned RPG Developer made up of old bioware devs, thatd be a great partnership opportunity but theyre owned by hasbro so if its a success sony couldnt acquire the studio. Kojima productions but it seems that ship has sailed. This seems like a "putting on a band aid to stop the bleeding of a severed arm strategy" at the moment to me what with all the market consolidation and buy outs.
If what they said is true and the majority of that money went to expanding their studios then this would be amazing. The only reason Bethesda was such a large purchase was because of the ip. Expanding year over year with 180 million would increase their studios size to compete with all of Microsoft studios in size in 2 years.
The budget probably takes into account infrastructure and new office spaces.

Still, I tend to think Sony will go on a hiring spree. Some will probably come from Bethesda Studios wanting fresh company and new opportunities.
That unfortunately, I think is what is going to take a large bite out of this investment. Didn't the horizon zero dawn team just buy a new building for its developers
You need to understand that Sony have most likely invested $100m+ in the Returnal project. There is no way way Housemarque could foot the bill for its development whenb they,ve had basically no income since Nex Machina launched in 2017.
There is no way Returnal cost anywhere close to 100m+.

Honestly the thing I want to say the most is about time! They've been needing to do this for years all of the big 3 did. Now all Sony needs to pay attention to is that they need 2 Japanese unique studios possibly for a fighting game and a souls or devil may cry like game.

Nintendo your move.
 

Dabaus

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They really need to invest in Western RPG Studios and have an in house JRPG Studio. Square enix being your RPG Studio is nice until tencent or God forbid Microsoft make them an offer they cant refuse.
 
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The Pleasure

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I can fix sony and their multiplayer woes.

Warhawk hd with 64 players
Killzone 2 hd with 64 players
Fat Princess remastered with new maps
Resistance 1 and 2 hd
Tokyo Jungle online and as an mmo

You're welcome. Pay me bitch.
 

JaksGhost

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Partnerships... so basically more deals to block content from other platforms or what seems to be the new M.O and make timed exclusive for a year deals.
It also can mean they are helping studios develop new IPs that are exclusive to the system like their recent Haven and Firewalk partnership announcements.
 
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MS bought a complete publisher with the intent to lock out the competition and secure the software exclusively for themselves and their platforms and services. How is timed exclusivity any different? Especially since they usually don't exclude the PC. It's actually less bad since Xbox owners will eventually see the game, yet they were ecstatic when Bethesda got acquired. Which one is it?


Microsoft didn't buy Bethesda just so Sony fans couldn't play their new games. It's incredibly absurd and biased to think otherwise. They bought them because
1. They were looking to sell, and another company buying them might not be good for Microsoft
2. They add significant value to Xbox
3. They add significant value to Game Pass
4. It helps their current studios by being able to collaborate with Bethesda
5. It helps Bethesda games benefit from collaboration with Xbox's other game studios
6. It includes some super popular IP like Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, and Wolfenstein
7. They now own Bethesda's tech like their very popular id tech engine


Also, Bethesda being owned by Microsoft increase their job security, and allows many of their studios to not be shut down, like sure BGS was never going to be in danger, but what about Arkane or Tango? Would you rather one of those studios die off for the sake of being able to play a few more games on Playstation? Acquisitions substantially help the developers and the games themselves, timed exclusives are a drop in the bucket to developers and the games are unlikely to be improved because of the small cash infusion. The only people who think timed exclusives and acquisitions are the same are people who dislike Xbox or are fearmongering about consolidation. I'm not saying Xbox/PS/Nintendo should all buy every single developer, but the ones they do buy are almost always going to be much better off than had they not been bought.

I would be SHOCKED if excluding Playstation owners was even in the top 10 reasons for Microsoft to buy Bethesda. Timed exclusives only purpose is to exclude gamers, that's the difference between the two strategies, Insomniac is in a much better place now that they're owned by Sony, and their games will benefit, this isn't about Xbox vs Playstation, you don't have to defend a bad strategy (for gamers) just because Sony is doing it, I sure didn't think it was a good strategy when Xbox abused it during the 360 gen. In general I'd rather have devs stay independent, but if the choice is between being acquired or having to sell out for constant timed exclusivity I'd rather they get acquired (by anybody, MS/Nintendo/Sony) because it generally allows for better, more polished, or more creative games
 

DeepEnigma

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2. They add significant value to Xbox
Explain this one in the context that they were already getting Bethesda games. What value in the context for Xbox specifically? You already mentioned GamePass in the next numeral point, so stick to the context of the "significant value" in context to Xbox itself.
 
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Explain this one in the context that they were already getting Bethesda games. What value in the context for Xbox specifically? You already mentioned GamePass in the next numeral point, so stick to the context of the "significant value" in context to Xbox itself.
The games will benefit from more resources and less time constraints, the smaller games that might have not existed because they wouldn't be big sellers or the studio might close, would still come out on Xbox. I would say more games and better games coming to Xbox is a value add. Plus other things related to to my other points like Xbox's current studios being able to use Bethesda's tech now
 
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Clear

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There is no way Returnal cost anywhere close to 100m+.

What makes you think that? The game has an 18mins long credit scroll.

All outsourced asset production costs money. Localization, publishing, QA and marketing also costs money.

Since Housemarque have stated its their first AAA scale project, I'd be inclined to think its production cost is in that range.
 
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