• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Your game plan as Sony executive to counterattack Microsoft's latest strategy

yurinka

Member
Bethesda doesn't tend to lean that heavily on new IP, but that doesn't mean new IP doesn't sell. Horizon Zero Dawn and Ghosts of Tsushima we're among the best selling games on PS4. The first Last of Us was one of the best selling PS3 games.
Horizon sold over 10 million copies on its first couple of years (this is back in 2019, so before the PC port etc), becoming one of the best selling PS4 games.

Ghost of Tsushima sold over 8M copies in a year and a half, so it's selling faster than Horizon.

GoW was 19.5M back in August, sold 10M in a year. Uncharted 4 was at 15M back in 2019, 3 years after release and 8 month after release at 8.7M. Spider-Man sold over 13M in less than a year. Pretty likely Uncharted 4 and Spider-Man crossed the 20M copies sold and may sell more on PC.

TLOU sold 20M until 2019 and TLOU2 we don't have numbers but we know its selling somewhere above GoT.

Both Horizon and Tsushima have potential to be >15M sellers, with some nice extra push from PC port+sequel who knows if even 20M sellers. They are top tier new IPs selling almost as much as the stablished top Sony IPs.

Fallout 4 and 76 isn't that high a bar either. Fallout 4 was the better of the two and is still regarded as a bit of a disappointment.
Look at this comparision:

  • Falllout 4 got 84/87/88 MC and according to Bethesda they shipped 12M for the launch day. Sounds as a big success.
  • Fallout 76 got 53/52/49 MC, sold 1.4 million copies in a month and a half. Doesn't sound as a big success.
Honestly, I bring back Shuhei or whoever it was that really revived Sony's gaming division after the slumping ps3.
Jim Ryan gives me bean counter vibes who might be good at pleasing shareholders on a short-term basis by trimming costs and making immediately 'profitable' moves, but this has to be the least I've ever been excited for a Sony machine.
Jim Ryan has all their studios 'aggresively hiring', made many acquisitions compared to their predecessors and is investing more in 2nd party and 3rd party exclusives for PS5 than they ever had before. On the hardware side pushed the production of PS5 to gaming history records until what the chips shortages allowed him. This is while also supporting PS4 and releasing PC ports. Seems to be working on a big push for Plus/Now and VR. They are also working on making movies and tv shows of their PS IPs, plus mobile games. Sounds as the opposite of trimming costs, seem to be pushing hard in all fronts.

Most of these moves are planting seeds for the future: growing internal teams, hiring small teams and growing them, investing more in subs/streaming, vr, mobile, pc ports and movie/tv series, giving 2nd party game to new studios of the creators of MGS/Destiny/CoD BO/AC...

Shuhei is still there, giving love to the indies (I don't know what exactly is his role, I assume it's to curate indies to sign exclusivity or marketing deals with them) plus to fund some of them and indie related industry events.
 
Last edited:

AV

We ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space
This assertion is false. In the world of business, everything is competitive; for Sony to just sit on thier ass and do nothing would be a terrible idea. Hell, the Xbox was created to directly compete with Sony because Bill gates felt threatened by the console talking over the living room electronic market.

Sony does not necessarily need to copy MS (even though they have before with trophies and PS+). They have to come up with something because MS just bought out the biggest game in the industry, COD. That is a direct threat to Sony's profits.

I didn't say it wouldn't be a bad idea, I said if they can make no further studio acquisitions and still turn a profit. It's not false whatsoever.

My point is that they're not "in trouble" just because they won't have Call of Duty in a few years. They can't even physically manufacture enough consoles to keep consumers happy right now. That being said, of course they should look at expanding, and I'm sure they will.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
I'd say just keep doing what youre doing and either make a really good shooter in house or partner up with third party companies that have good shooters. They wont have the draw of COD, but if you throw enough cash at companies like Bungie they might buddy up with a Destiny 3 deal. Titanfall 1 was Xbox One exclusive from EA/Respawn. Maybe go after TF3 as a PS exclusive.
 
Last edited:

squarealex

Member
Capcom, Namco Bandai and Square Enix need Mobile, Nintendo and the PC for more profit...
Of course, Sony target the same market, but a bit late...
 
Smartphones are going to be the new consoles in the future, connect to your TV, and job done. Give it five years.

Ultimately, it is going to be about content, and subscriptions.
 
Last edited:
Look at this comparision:

  • Falllout 4 got 84/87/88 MC and according to Bethesda they shipped 12M for the launch day. Sounds as a big success.
  • Fallout 76 got 53/52/49 MC, sold 1.4 million copies in a month and a half. Doesn't sound as a big success.

Fallout '76 was not made by the main team, and was developed basically as a quick cash grab for their then-investor prior to the acquisition by Microsoft. Considering those circumstances it doesn't really serve as an indication of decline from Bethesda or Fallout either in quality or sales potential.

Once Bethesda actually put some real effort into '76 they completely turned the game around and it's been in a much better state, and that was also prior to the Microsoft acquisition finalizing.
 
OP I genuinely admire your passion in that write-up and how well-formed it is on a technical level. Too bad the foundation of the premise is like a stack of cards.

The Acti/Blizzard purchase is not targeted at Sony, even if they might end up a collateral out of unwillingness to work with Microsoft on some level. It's not like 100% of Acti/Blizzard (or Zenimax for that matter) games will disappear from Sony platforms, either. That would be dumb.

First of all, thank you for that comment, I appreciate it.
However, this post was made with the thought of if I were to run Sony. Position yourself in Sony's place, would you be willing to take a big bet like that and just sit around and wait, hoping that Microsoft won't make the decision to make everything exclusive to them?
Why would it be dumb? Cause they are missing out on revenue? I think we both know that Microsoft is playing the long game here. It doesn't matter that they lose out on revenue now. They just put up close to 70 billion dollars like it was nothing, following a 7.5 billion acquisition not long ago. Microsoft doesn't care about losing out on revenue now if they can strengthen their position in the future. What they are gonna do is make everything exclusive, make people associate all the IPs they just acquired with Microsoft and use this advantage to bind customers to them.
Do you think Starfield is cheap to make? Starfield is expensive as hell to make. If Microsoft cares about revenue and profit now, they wouldn't say it would be exclusive to Xbox. They would also not shell out 77 Billion dollars in such a short time span just to acquire these publishers.

However, could you really say the same for Sony if they made the acquisitions you suggest? Keep in mind Sony and Nintendo are more at competition with each other than Nintendo and Microsoft; Sony acquiring a Capcom, SEGA or Bandai Namco hurts Nintendo as much or in some cases more than it does Microsoft. For example, the Sonic games easily sell the most on Nintendo systems. Sony is very clearly PS-orientated and even their PC strategy has been slow to embrace release parity with 1P content. Insofar as them providing any games on rival platforms, that's just flat-out not happened nor will happen. Nintendo loses Bandai-Namco as a potential developer for the Smash Bros. series if Sony ends up acquiring them, too. You think they'll make Sunset Overdrive 2 for Xbox Series even if there's a niche fanbase for it on those platforms? Nope! The most you've ever seen from Sony in that regard was when they purchased Psygnosis, all the way back in the mid '90s, and that was an extreme outlier.

Again, if you were the one in charge of Sony, wouldn't you want to weaken Nintendo as well? Buying Capcom is a great idea exactly great for that reason. Sony would kill 2 birds with 1 stone. I'm not saying this as a gamer, but as someone who would run Sony.
Besides your remaining thought process is a bit flawed. Cultivating talent, putting the right people in the right positions is the biggest strength of Sony. If Sony buys Capcom, they will know what they are buying. Sony won't make all of Capcom create other games than they are used to, they would just polish that up even more and make them exclusive. Changing anything substantial to the way they develop games would devalue their purchase. As one of the reasons to buy Capcom is to secure their position in the east. Meaning still making Japanese-centric feel games.
Plus, I didn't even mention Sega and Bandai Namco.

I don't know if you realized how your dream Sony acquisitions actually also hurt Nintendo (in some cases even more than they would Microsoft), but I guess that just goes to show how short-sighted this idea of "OMG Sony haves to respond BIGUH!!" really is. It also ignores the reality that every single company you listed...if Sony were interested in buying them, you can bet OTHER companies would be too. Not just Microsoft, but potentially Amazon, Tencent, Embracer Group etc. and many of them have a lot more money and resources to outbid Sony in such a deal. Realistically the only way Sony gets most of those companies in your list is if NO ONE else wants them, which would be more an indication of those companies holding little worth in the market.

Again, hurting Nintendo is a good thing for Sony.
I'm not saying that PlayStation should be shaking in their boots, they are still positioned incredibly well. However, being complacent is never good, especially if you have a juggernaut like Microsoft in front of you and targeting all the areas that Sony is weak in.
You gotta remember that companies need to be willing to be bought out. Money isn't everything. Companies aren't static assets. People work there. You can buy up a company, but if you don't know how to manage your people, your talent will just leave. All the companies I listed clearly have ties with Sony. Their relationship with each other is at least decent.
It's not like a block of cheese that can just be bought by anyone throwing the most money on the table. If you were to be a developer and you don't want to make Gamepass games that get flooded by all the other content, you would prefer to work for another company, for example, PlayStation. People have preferences, dreams, and aspirations, and people WILL leave when they work at a place they don't enjoy and agree with.

Yes it may upset some people when Microsoft makes these types of acquisitions but, at least they have demonstrated willingness to support other platform ecosystems like Steam with Day 1 release parity alongside Xbox and GamePass, and willingness to provide software rights to companies like Nintendo well after acquiring developers they once owned (i.e the Banjo Kazooie Switch release today, various MS characters in Smash, the upcoming Goldeneye 007 remaster coming to Xbox/PC/GamePass and Switch, etc.). Sony's displayed none of these tendencies, at least not yet, and until they do then for gamers as a whole who are in other ecosystems besides just PlayStation, they make a worst suitor.

Microsoft and Xbox aren't charities. They provide good value because they NEED to. They are aggressive because they NEED to. They weren't able to compete with Sony and PlayStation. They are basically playing catchup. And now that Microsoft and Xbox are catching up, Sony and PlayStation might just do the same. Every smart company will treat its customers like sweethearts when they see that what they are doing isn't working. But they just as quickly can turn to dicks when they feel they can do anything they want, AND keep raking in the cash. For example Rockstar, CD Projekt, and arrogant Sony back in the PS3 days.
 
Last edited:

ReBurn

Gold Member
Fallout '76 was not made by the main team, and was developed basically as a quick cash grab for their then-investor prior to the acquisition by Microsoft. Considering those circumstances it doesn't really serve as an indication of decline from Bethesda or Fallout either in quality or sales potential.

Once Bethesda actually put some real effort into '76 they completely turned the game around and it's been in a much better state, and that was also prior to the Microsoft acquisition finalizing.
Fallout '76 wasn't a bad game as much as there just wasn't enough to do at launch. The idea was ok. The initial execution sucked.
 

Kerotan

Member
Oh soz, I confused it with the other comment. But yes, in this case, I definitely agree. Sony needs to make necessary investments to keep its strong position.

I do not know how much Sony or PlayStation made last year. Are you referring to Sony or PlayStation?
Either way, I think it's a huge risk to use all of your profits for just M&As.
It is huge but MS are about 2 publishers away from turning sony into another Nintendo where people mainly only buy playstations for 1st party titles. It's worth protecting your future.

And sony don't need to take gta or assassin's creed off xbox if they bought T2 or Ubi. Just use them to barter Bethesda and COD staying on playstation. Everybody wins.

But if MS own all the chips there will only be one winner.
 
It is huge but MS are about 2 publishers away from turning sony into another Nintendo where people mainly only buy playstations for 1st party titles. It's worth protecting your future.

And sony don't need to take gta or assassin's creed off xbox if they bought T2 or Ubi. Just use them to barter Bethesda and COD staying on playstation. Everybody wins.

But if MS own all the chips there will only be one winner.
I agree that Sony needs to be aggressive. But not so aggressive as to use up all their profits just for M&As alone.
They can use their current investment strategy that they already have in place, or potentially increase that by a factor of 2 the most, and start acquiring smaller companies, like the ones I listed in my OP. That would already put Sony in a more than great position, while only spending less than 1/3 compared to if they were to buy T2 and Ubi instead.
 

Yoboman

Member
If Sony want to be serious then that M&A budget is increased and the focus goes to games instead of dividing it between divisions

Basically everyone but EA and maybe Take2 after their Zynga merger are on the cards

I would be looking at Kadokawa, Konami and Ubisoft
 
First of all, thank you for that comment, I appreciate it.
However, this post was made with the thought of if I were to run Sony. Position yourself in Sony's place, would you be willing to take a big bet like that and just sit around and wait, hoping that Microsoft won't make the decision to make everything exclusive to them?
Why would it be dumb? Cause they are missing out on revenue? I think we both know that Microsoft is playing the long game here. It doesn't matter that they lose out on revenue now. They just put up close to 70 billion dollars like it was nothing, following a 7.5 billion acquisition not long ago. Microsoft doesn't care about losing out on revenue now if they can strengthen their position in the future. What they are gonna do is make everything exclusive, make people associate all the IPs they just acquired with Microsoft and use this advantage to bind customers to them.
Do you think Starfield is cheap to make? Starfield is expensive as hell to make. If Microsoft cares about revenue and profit now, they wouldn't say it would be exclusive to Xbox. They would also not shell out 77 Billion dollars in such a short time span just to acquire these publishers.

Well okay, if we're talking about from the perspective of someone running the PlayStation division, then I wouldn't call this kind of speculative planning dumb. But I guess this is also me having an issue in general when it comes to speculating on acquisitions, because just in general it's not something I like to do. I couldn't of even seen this Activision-Blizzard one coming but if there were rumors beforehand I'd of just dismissed them. Just like how I dismissed the Take-Two ones, in fact.

Again, if you were the one in charge of Sony, wouldn't you want to weaken Nintendo as well? Buying Capcom is a great idea exactly great for that reason. Sony would kill 2 birds with 1 stone. I'm not saying this as a gamer, but as someone who would run Sony.
Besides your remaining thought process is a bit flawed. Cultivating talent, putting the right people in the right positions is the biggest strength of Sony. If Sony buys Capcom, they will know what they are buying. Sony won't make all of Capcom create other games than they are used to, they would just polish that up even more and make them exclusive. Changing anything substantial to the way they develop games would devalue their purchase. As one of the reasons to buy Capcom is to secure their position in the east. Meaning still making Japanese-centric feel games.
Plus, I didn't even mention Sega and Bandai Namco.

True you didn't specifically mention Sega or Bandai Namco, but I threw them in because with these kind of fantasy acquisition talks they're two names that also tend to pop up a decent bit.

Otherwise again, from a business strategic POV yes it would make more sense for Sony to acquire someone like Capcom if it also hurts Nintendo. That said, you have to understand that this talk about the impact of acquisitions is being done mainly by us gamers, so you have to also understand that many of us would be looking that this from a perspective of how it could impact platforms we play on.

Which TBF is something we've been regularly seeing from people arguing in favor of either Xbox or PlayStation, but Nintendo always gets left out. I think it's down to the assumption that they operate in their "own lane" and their 1P carry them. Those things are true, but not as true or as absolutely true as some might think. Nintendo's still in the traditional gaming segment, so they're still in some way competing with Microsoft and Sony, moreso the latter since there is more overlap between Sony and Nintendo. And regarding the 1P, well definitely Nintendo enjoys more in profits from their 1P than Sony or Microsoft (if you ignore Minecraft), and that's helped by them not having as expensive hardware to manufacture. But we know how Nintendo systems perform when 3P is dead, i.e Gamecube and Wii U. They perform very weak in the market when that's the case.

Again, hurting Nintendo is a good thing for Sony.
I'm not saying that PlayStation should be shaking in their boots, they are still positioned incredibly well. However, being complacent is never good, especially if you have a juggernaut like Microsoft in front of you and targeting all the areas that Sony is weak in.
You gotta remember that companies need to be willing to be bought out. Money isn't everything. Companies aren't static assets. People work there. You can buy up a company, but if you don't know how to manage your people, your talent will just leave. All the companies I listed clearly have ties with Sony. Their relationship with each other is at least decent.
It's not like a block of cheese that can just be bought by anyone throwing the most money on the table. If you were to be a developer and you don't want to make Gamepass games that get flooded by all the other content, you would prefer to work for another company, for example, PlayStation. People have preferences, dreams, and aspirations, and people WILL leave when they work at a place they don't enjoy and agree with.

This is probably where you and I are going to differ when it comes to what Sony's response should be. You want them to go tit-for-tat with Microsoft in big publisher acquisitions. This will eventually kill Sony, because they can easily lose focus of their core, and they wouldn't be the only ones eying the companies you mentioned, anyway, therefore driving up their purchasing cost, in some cases over 2x their market cap potentially. Microsoft already has to pay a 38% premium on Activision-Blizzard and that's a company mired in controversy which affected their stock price, and likely had at least another suitor (at least before the board members approached Microsoft with an offer...probably also before the controversy really started to affect their stock value).

Imagine what the selling price would be for the companies you mentioned, which aren't mired in anywhere near that type of controversy, some of which have a good deal of very strong IP, and would be valued by other companies like Tencent, Embracer Group, etc. for purchase. Zenimax sold for 2x their market cap as just an example. I'm not saying Sony doesn't have the money to acquire such a publisher, it's just that they may not have as much of that money when all's said and done if other bidders are raising the price during the process with their own bids. And that could quickly shut Sony out of the process unless they want to take out loans or mix in stock options which, depending on the seller, may not be desirable if other bidders can pay in pure cash assets.

Simply put Sony can't compete with a company like Microsoft when it comes to these type of acquisitions if a company like Microsoft are actually interested in the purchase. Now that's not me saying they're interested in ALL of those companies; Microsoft acquiring a Japanese publisher in the future isn't out of the realm of possibility but I strongly doubt it would be one such as Square-Enix or Capcom (in fact given their history I think that it would be Sega but I'm not here to speculate like that); they're not out to destroy Sony or Nintendo for that matter. So it's very likely if Sony wanted one of those publishers, they could get them, but if those publishers put themselves out on the market do you think other companies like Tencent wouldn't try getting in on that action? At which point, once you're talking the biggest conglomerates, it's a question of which one's the least of those "evils" (hate this term, just can't think of a better one) and generally speaking that ends up being Microsoft when considering willingness to work with other platform holders and still distributing owned content in other ecosystems one way or another (as well as funding and growing acquired talent and letting them have a fuller range of creative development).

If Sony's going to have a response, it's going to be them doubling down on what makes them great. They'll probably create a few more internal teams for some of their bigger studios like Naughty Dog, and will keep looking to bring several gaming properties into other media ventures prominently. I wouldn't be surprised if there's ever a God of War television series or movie in the future, for example. They'll look to bring that media content as benefits to the gaming side through subscription perks when they launch Project Spartacus, and they'll look for a way to bring more 1P content to PC including Day 1, probably by expanding out with a PC launcher and storefront they can monetize and provide subscription tiers to with perks equivalent to PlayStation owners of the service. As long as they do that and find ways to support PSVR2, they will be more than fine.

What a lot of these speculative acquisitions for Sony sound like to me, is them being reactive, and that's the worst thing they could do. Being in a position where you're simply reactionary means you don't have control, and it also means you can easily lose focus. That's exactly the problem Sega had when Sony came on the scene with the PS1, in fact Sega had that problem with the 3DO and Jaguar too (the 32X was a reaction to those, particularly the Jaguar). They tried going tit-for-tat with Sony, despite Sony having a lot more resources and money than them, and it hurt Sega very, very badly with the Saturn. Meanwhile Sega's real answer was right there the whole time, in tightly merging their arcade and home system markets into more of a whole not just technologically but perk/benefits-wise for arcade and home gamers. But they were too divided internally and too distracted by reacting to the market instead of being united and focusing on their strengths.

If you want Sony to have the same fate, then by all means keep asking for them to escalate into a massive acquisition war with companies 3x to 13x their size. It won't end well for them. It's clear Sony's acquisitions have been targeted towards either upstarts or teams they've worked with for a very long time, that for other companies might not bring a lot of value on their own but for Sony bring value in portfolio diversity for their ecosystem as well as sales in a lot of cases when paired with the right IP that Sony might have rights to (such as Spiderman). That's not to say Microsoft haven't been doing similar; their relationship with Bethesda goes back decades, for example. It's just that in their case those relationships happen to be with historically bigger developers who in some cases also became publishers.
 

Warablo

Member
Sit back

shaun of the dead GIF
 

Jigsaah

Gold Member
It's a bit of a tough one. Right now Sony needs reliable IPs with continuity. Stuff like Ghosts of Tsushima and The Last of Us are great, but I don't see them maintaining relevancy beyond a couple more main installments. I could probably stomach 2 more Ghost games before I get fed up with the IP. Same with Tomb Raider, DMC and Deus Ex.

The important ones are Monster Hunter and Final Fantasy. They're the types of games that can go on for a long time and still be selling 10+ million with every installment. (provided they're not mishandled)
There is a lot oof replayability with MH true enough. As people get a hold of new consoles MH may be middle of the pack as far as must have games. I know when i get a PS5, it's Returnal and FF16 for me, assuming it takes me that long to get a PS5. It's also very possible with this new pressure from Microsoft, Sony's approach to PC releases might change. I mainly play on PC so if it does, it may make me wait til PS5 Pro or somethin.
 

GrayFoxPL

Member
Most logical sense to defend themselves from getting EATEN UP by MS would be joining with Nintendo. Nintendo-Sony.

But with Jim Ryan as PS boss, I don't know. Maybe the plan is to sell all PS exclusives to PC and kill off PlayStation.


Prawn Idk GIF by Topshelf Records
 
Last edited:

Ebidramon

Banned
- buy Konami
- bring all exclusives to PC
- make PS5 BC
- never again make games that run below 60fps

- SET UP A DIVISION FOCUSED SOLELY ON MAKING METAL GEAR GAMES
 
- Create or buy support studios
- Get cozy with big third party games, such as GTA, Battlefield
- Use those support studios to help develop these games (especially GTA), and in return get marketing rights and 1 year of exclusivity
- After the 1 year is gone, the game releases on Xbox, I make another deal to release such games on Spartacus (with continuing marketing rights)
- Buy smaller studios such as Kojima Productions (but this one is out of the picture, I don't see them wanting to get bought)
- Get a deal with Konami for first party development of their IPs
- Release first party games on Spartacus after a 6 month window (this is a big maybe. 1 year would probably be better but that would depend on the goal of game sales vs subscriptions)
- Don't release everything on PC, but only the lower budget exclusives. Things like ND, SP and SMS games would remain exclusive to the Playstation consoles and Spartacus

Extra:
- Develop high quality mobile games, partner with Apple Arcade for their iPhone releases, and down the line release them on Android.

Sony doesn't need to buy anything big, they need to create partnerships. And for that, they have the money.
 
Get fromsoftware. They have always been close and there are even rumours of another partnership with them. If Microsoft want the casual crowd than Sony should double down on the hardcore audience. The audience that doesn't care about call of duty.
 

GrayFoxPL

Member
Get fromsoftware. They have always been close and there are even rumours of another partnership with them. If Microsoft want the casual crowd than Sony should double down on the hardcore audience. The audience that doesn't care about call of duty.
They can't get From Software without getting their parent company Kadokawa Corporation. They can't get Kadokawa Corporation. They can get the stake, which they did.
 
Sell the business to Tencent or Amazon, i dont see any alternative

Why? You think they can't still thrive without call of duty? Maybe if this was ps3 era when CoD was at peak but not now. Ps4 was a 120m seller with cod apparently selling 10m copies each release on the platform. If they lost all of them, they still sell 110m.
 
Last edited:

darrylgorn

Member
If they were to buy out any other developer/publisher, it would have to be a company that makes games that align with their market and branding and would also take away potential sales from Microsoft.

GTA is one of those franchises that is extremely successful and has a well documented association with Sony. Acquiring Take Two would make a lot of sense.
 
Last edited:

Amiga

Member
Bring back SOCOM, Warhawk, Twisted Metal and Killzone. re-imagine them a bit and update them for modern gaming. Let insomniac do a new FPS. invest heavily on MP testing worldwide.
Also Payday devs are one full team that should available. they have guys who made the original Bad Company.
Honestly, I bring back Shuhei or whoever it was that really revived Sony's gaming division after the slumping ps3.
Jim Ryan gives me bean counter vibes who might be good at pleasing shareholders on a short-term basis by trimming costs and making immediately 'profitable' moves, but this has to be the least I've ever been excited for a Sony machine.

Shuhei is good for indy stuff. for AAA MP Sony need new talent that are veteran experts from successful and popular games.
 

Elios83

Member
Let's first say as a premise that Sony knows where the market is headed and has known that for a good while. Jim Ryan was already hinting at a GamePass competitor in the works two years ago.
And they perfectly knew that huge tech giants like MS, Apple. Amazon, Google, Tencent wanted a piece of the gaming pie for their metaverse/social/ digital future ambitions so they have a long term challenge there.
Their plan is already in place, they're now simply under more pressure to accelerate their countermoves instead of taking time to mantain the autopilot and status quo as long as possible.

Imo we'll see:
1) Revamp of their network services.
The plan was already there and soon Spartacus will be launched, while they won't put their first party games there day one, they will need their whole catalogue there at some point and not just for 3 months.
So people will eventually be able to play all their games through Spartacus even with a 6-12 months delay compared to those who want to pay 70$.
The smart thing about Spartacus is that they're not resetting the whole thing, they're starting with 40-50 million users with the basic tier and from there they can simply buy options to upgrade if they're appealing enough.

2)This won't be liked by some fans but it's inevitable, their PC business will grow so that their games and IPs can reach more and more gamers around the world. We'll see games being ported on PC at worst one year later than the console counterparts and the multiplayer based games will be console/PC day one.

3)Continue with their strategy of expanding with organic growth of existing studios and buying smaller talented studios that could grow into the next big studios with a huge return on the investements. This is what they have already done in 2021 and they will continue to do so because it's the safest route with the biggest ROI.

4)Secure their long term future in the case that other big players like EA, Take-Two, Ubisoft are acquired next by buying publishers that are close to their identity and affordable to them without risking the long term financial stability of the whole group.
Square Enix and Capcom are obvious targets. The Playstation identity is deeply associated with brands like Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Quest, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Monster Hunter, Street Fighter.
Capcom also fits with their EVO/e-sports ambitions with their leadership in fighting games.
They need to do this this asap before other companies have the same idea, share prices of smaller publishers continue to rise with the market speculating that they're easy acquisition targets and also MS won't do other similar scale acquisitions at least until the deal with Activisision is done to keep a low profile with the antitrust regulators.

5)Explore ways to do business deals with the huge high tech companies so that they can live/work together instead of being enemies. Reaching a long term deal with MS to not lose games like COD is an obvious example of this.

So basically 3 out of 5 of the points were already in action, they're now under pressure to deliver on point 4 and eventually if necessary on point 5.
 
Last edited:

Sosokrates

Member
If Microsoft is right and its only a matter of time before the tech giants buy all the pubs/devs isn't consolidation inevitable?

Its like a cold war in gaming, MS made the first strike with Bethesda + acti-blizz, so its now a situation where sony, Netflix,facebook, amazon may have never intended to make these big aquisitions but now there thinking "if we don't sombody else will".

i think we could see a future like this.

Microsoft:
Zenimax
Acti-blizz
XGS
Sega


Sony:
PGS
Capcom
Square
Konami


Tencent
Everything they already own
Namco
Nexom
Emracer

Google
EA
Net marble

Amazon
Take 2

Netflix
Ubisoft


Plus smaller devs and indies snapped up between them.


Which would suck if GTA was exclusive to one of the newcomers.
 

Sosokrates

Member
Another counterattack from Sony could dent the Xbox console market. MS just too focus on Game Pass.

Xbox console will be fine.
I mean if you had to recommend 1 console to a casual, it would be Xbox, they simply have the best and most varried first party and value.
Playstation also has great first party but its hard to recommend when xbox has almost double the first party all included with gamepass.
 

Elios83

Member
If Microsoft is right and its only a matter of time before the tech giants buy all the pubs/devs isn't consolidation inevitable?

Its like a cold war in gaming, MS made the first strike with Bethesda + acti-blizz, so its now a situation where sony, Netflix,facebook, amazon may have never intended to make these big aquisitions but now there thinking "if we don't sombody else will".

i think we could see a future like this.

Microsoft:
Zenimax
Acti-blizz
XGS
Sega


Sony:
PGS
Capcom
Square
Konami


Tencent
Everything they already own
Namco
Nexom
Emracer

Google
EA
Net marble

Amazon
Take 2

Netflix
Ubisoft


Plus smaller devs and indies snapped up between them.


Which would suck if GTA was exclusive to one of the newcomers.

Large scale consolidation sucks for consumers.
Instead of getting a console with 90% of the third parties games plus the first party games that are most suited for one's personal tastes, we'll need to subscribe or buy multiple products to not miss big games.
It's like what happened with movies, if you want to see Disney/Star Wars/Marvel stuff you'll need Disney Plus, for other shows Netflix, Amazon, HBO and so on.
Also the bigger these players will become the more they will increase prices once consumers are locked in and left without options.
Amazon is now doing the subscriptions within the subscription with their anime channel on Prime Video...
It's not exactly a good thing but unfortunately we're headed there.
 
Last edited:

iceatcs

Junior Member
Xbox console will be fine.
I mean if you had to recommend 1 console to a casual, it would be Xbox, they simply have the best and most varried first party and value.
Playstation also has great first party but its hard to recommend when xbox has almost double the first party all included with gamepass.
True that, but I would go recommend people for the cheapest way, sub Game Pass only (even cheaper if find low deal Xbox Live convert to game pass), use cloud stream to play if don't have PC/Xbox.
I could see it will be popular method people use cloud for Game Pass (and other cloud gaming services) Console/PC gaming might be niche market only last this gen.

There was some rumours for MS to make Xbox Stick.
 

Sosokrates

Member
Large scale consolidation sucks for consumers.
Instead of getting a console with 90% of the third parties games plus the first party games that are most suited for one's personal tastes, we'll need to subscribe or buy multiple products to not miss big games.
It's like what happened with movies, if you want to see Disney/Star Wars/Marvel stuff you'll need Disney Plus, for other shows Netflix, Amazon, HBO and so on.
Also the bigger these players will become the more they will increase prices once consumers are locked in and left without options.
Amazon is now doing the subscriptions within the subscription with their anime channel on Prime Video...
It's not exactly a good thing but unfortunately we're headed there.

One plus side is that I think it will ultimately lead to standardised hardware.
One box to rule them all!
 

leo-j

Member
Xbox console will be fine.
I mean if you had to recommend 1 console to a casual, it would be Xbox, they simply have the best and most varried first party and value.
Playstation also has great first party but its hard to recommend when xbox has almost double the first party all included with gamepass.
Well right now today all those games are still releasing and are on playstation. If you are talking about 2023 and onward maybe. But the call of duty stuff (if it is exclusive to xbox) won’t be happening till 2023 or the following year. And what do you mean doible the first party included with gamepass? Halo, forze, and starfield maybe but that’s way down the line?
 
We often hear that American companies can't purchase Japanese companies because Japanese laws make it almost impossible. I don't know how accurate this is but lets assume its correct. That means that MS's hands are tied and will never have access to Japanese developers and publishers.

Why doesn't Sony buy/merge with some of these legendary companies that only they have access to. I think if they purchased/merged with the game development branches of Capcom or Sega or SquareEnix or Konami(mostly unused IPs anyways) it would create huge news. Legendary IPs would now belong to Sony.

If I was CEO of Sony, I would pull the trigger and purchase one or some of those gaming companies. I would think the Japanese government would encourage/approve it, seeing as how MS is basically on assault mode. The ability to purchase these companies is a big advantage that Japanese companies have over American companies.

The thing is, does Sony even care? Maybe they feel confident enough to continue on their own with the success they've been having.
 

Bo_Hazem

Gold Dealer
Just keep making the great games they're doing so far, and revive all the shooters. Try getting Japanese studios/publishers like SEGA, Square Enix, Konami, Capcom, FromSoftware.

Reviving the shooters alone will counter this whole drama as they're still pumping solid number of games annually.
 

leo-j

Member
Sony:

Buy capcom
Buy square
Buy Konami ip and or the publisher

This would give them, resident evil, monster hunter, final fantasy, dragon quest, metal gear, yugioh, silent hill, street fighter, kingdom hearts, tomb raider and more ip. Square alone would be a perfect response to losing Bethesda. Diesn’t sony own like a percentage of stocks also? Indef think a merger would be very beneficial considering square games are mistly exclusive to playstation anyway. And FF VII staying playstation console exclusive says something imo. That and many of the FF games are supposedly leaving gamepass this year.
 

Sosokrates

Member
Well right now today all those games are still releasing and are on playstation. If you are talking about 2023 and onward maybe. But the call of duty stuff (if it is exclusive to xbox) won’t be happening till 2023 or the following year. And what do you mean doible the first party included with gamepass? Halo, forze, and starfield maybe but that’s way down the line?

Xbox have 32 devs, sony have 17.
Xbox will be able to release more games and a more varried portfolio
 
Well okay, if we're talking about from the perspective of someone running the PlayStation division, then I wouldn't call this kind of speculative planning dumb. But I guess this is also me having an issue in general when it comes to speculating on acquisitions, because just in general it's not something I like to do. I couldn't of even seen this Activision-Blizzard one coming but if there were rumors beforehand I'd of just dismissed them. Just like how I dismissed the Take-Two ones, in fact.
This is the focus of this thread though. It's literally in the title. You as an executive of Sony, countering Microsoft's latest strategy. Which is acquiring as many developers, publishers and IPs as possible to brute force content output. Making Gamepass seem more compelling than ever with sheer volume and exclusives.

I wouldn't have expected Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard either. Solely because anyone smaller than Microsoft acquiring them would just be insane and not a good business decision. But Microsoft does have fuck you money. So even though I didn't see that coming, I was like ye makes sense.

True you didn't specifically mention Sega or Bandai Namco, but I threw them in because with these kind of fantasy acquisition talks they're two names that also tend to pop up a decent bit.

Otherwise again, from a business strategic POV yes it would make more sense for Sony to acquire someone like Capcom if it also hurts Nintendo. That said, you have to understand that this talk about the impact of acquisitions is being done mainly by us gamers, so you have to also understand that many of us would be looking that this from a perspective of how it could impact platforms we play on.

Which TBF is something we've been regularly seeing from people arguing in favor of either Xbox or PlayStation, but Nintendo always gets left out. I think it's down to the assumption that they operate in their "own lane" and their 1P carry them. Those things are true, but not as true or as absolutely true as some might think. Nintendo's still in the traditional gaming segment, so they're still in some way competing with Microsoft and Sony, moreso the latter since there is more overlap between Sony and Nintendo. And regarding the 1P, well definitely Nintendo enjoys more in profits from their 1P than Sony or Microsoft (if you ignore Minecraft), and that's helped by them not having as expensive hardware to manufacture. But we know how Nintendo systems perform when 3P is dead, i.e Gamecube and Wii U. They perform very weak in the market when that's the case.
Bandai Namco and Sega do get referred to a lot by others. But you were speaking about th OP. And in there I never mentioned anything about these 2 parties.

Yes if Sony gets Capcom and makes some current Nintendo games exclusive it will hurt the gamers. But that's the name of the game. Every company needs exclusives. Fans would have to take either or then. But most Nintendo games will still stay on Nintendo anyways. Only the IPs that Capcom owns would be exclusive to Sony (going by the assumption that we discussed earlier).

It's logical Nintendo often gets left out of most discussions. That's because Nintendo has no direct competitor. Their target audience is way different compared to Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo has done it themselves. They carved out a niche of which works perfectly well for them.

The overlap between Sony and Nintendo are marginal. Nintendo targets a way younger age group even though some of their games still speak to adults. Sony titles speak to some Japanese gamers mostly because of their 3rd party titles. Look at the best selling 1st party titles of Sony and then look at the best selling 1st party titles of Nintendo. They can't be further from each other. Now look at the best selling 1st party titles of Sony and that of Microsoft's. Much more similar right?

Remember, the 1st party exclusives are where the big 3 make the most money with. The way you use a Switch compared to the PlayStation and Xbox is also vastly different.

In the world of entertainment, content is king. If Sony or Microsoft were to wanna compete with Nintendo directly they would first need a console that plays similarly to that of Nintendo's. So you would need to make an extra console. Not only that but then you'd need to make titles that are comparable to that of Nintendo's. Both Sony and Microsoft made the right decision to not compete with Nintendo as they'd spread themselves way too thin then. They are having a tough enough time competing with each other. Now imagine doing that times 2. It would be nuts. It would be chaos and they would both lose their brand identity, even if they were to have enough studios to make Nintendo-like games.

This is probably where you and I are going to differ when it comes to what Sony's response should be. You want them to go tit-for-tat with Microsoft in big publisher acquisitions. This will eventually kill Sony, because they can easily lose focus of their core, and they wouldn't be the only ones eying the companies you mentioned, anyway, therefore driving up their purchasing cost, in some cases over 2x their market cap potentially. Microsoft already has to pay a 38% premium on Activision-Blizzard and that's a company mired in controversy which affected their stock price, and likely had at least another suitor (at least before the board members approached Microsoft with an offer...probably also before the controversy really started to affect their stock value).

Imagine what the selling price would be for the companies you mentioned, which aren't mired in anywhere near that type of controversy, some of which have a good deal of very strong IP, and would be valued by other companies like Tencent, Embracer Group, etc. for purchase. Zenimax sold for 2x their market cap as just an example. I'm not saying Sony doesn't have the money to acquire such a publisher, it's just that they may not have as much of that money when all's said and done if other bidders are raising the price during the process with their own bids. And that could quickly shut Sony out of the process unless they want to take out loans or mix in stock options which, depending on the seller, may not be desirable if other bidders can pay in pure cash assets.

Simply put Sony can't compete with a company like Microsoft when it comes to these type of acquisitions if a company like Microsoft are actually interested in the purchase. Now that's not me saying they're interested in ALL of those companies; Microsoft acquiring a Japanese publisher in the future isn't out of the realm of possibility but I strongly doubt it would be one such as Square-Enix or Capcom (in fact given their history I think that it would be Sega but I'm not here to speculate like that); they're not out to destroy Sony or Nintendo for that matter. So it's very likely if Sony wanted one of those publishers, they could get them, but if those publishers put themselves out on the market do you think other companies like Tencent wouldn't try getting in on that action? At which point, once you're talking the biggest conglomerates, it's a question of which one's the least of those "evils" (hate this term, just can't think of a better one) and generally speaking that ends up being Microsoft when considering willingness to work with other platform holders and still distributing owned content in other ecosystems one way or another (as well as funding and growing acquired talent and letting them have a fuller range of creative development).

If Sony's going to have a response, it's going to be them doubling down on what makes them great. They'll probably create a few more internal teams for some of their bigger studios like Naughty Dog, and will keep looking to bring several gaming properties into other media ventures prominently. I wouldn't be surprised if there's ever a God of War television series or movie in the future, for example. They'll look to bring that media content as benefits to the gaming side through subscription perks when they launch Project Spartacus, and they'll look for a way to bring more 1P content to PC including Day 1, probably by expanding out with a PC launcher and storefront they can monetize and provide subscription tiers to with perks equivalent to PlayStation owners of the service. As long as they do that and find ways to support PSVR2, they will be more than fine.

What a lot of these speculative acquisitions for Sony sound like to me, is them being reactive, and that's the worst thing they could do. Being in a position where you're simply reactionary means you don't have control, and it also means you can easily lose focus. That's exactly the problem Sega had when Sony came on the scene with the PS1, in fact Sega had that problem with the 3DO and Jaguar too (the 32X was a reaction to those, particularly the Jaguar). They tried going tit-for-tat with Sony, despite Sony having a lot more resources and money than them, and it hurt Sega very, very badly with the Saturn. Meanwhile Sega's real answer was right there the whole time, in tightly merging their arcade and home system markets into more of a whole not just technologically but perk/benefits-wise for arcade and home gamers. But they were too divided internally and too distracted by reacting to the market instead of being united and focusing on their strengths.

If you want Sony to have the same fate, then by all means keep asking for them to escalate into a massive acquisition war with companies 3x to 13x their size. It won't end well for them. It's clear Sony's acquisitions have been targeted towards either upstarts or teams they've worked with for a very long time, that for other companies might not bring a lot of value on their own but for Sony bring value in portfolio diversity for their ecosystem as well as sales in a lot of cases when paired with the right IP that Sony might have rights to (such as Spiderman). That's not to say Microsoft haven't been doing similar; their relationship with Bethesda goes back decades, for example. It's just that in their case those relationships happen to be with historically bigger developers who in some cases also became publishers.
You get me wrong, and you'd know if you read exactly what I said. The ones I want Sony to acquire if I were to be a Sony executive are the ones that are way smaller, with way less bloat and are the ones that are upstarts. I'd want them to acquire key individuals together with the people they work the best with. Aside from Capcom I don't want Sony to acquire any publisher. How's that going tit for tat? The acquisitions I calculated cost 7.7B, nowhere close to the 77B that Microsoft put on the table.

I gave the companies pretty generous valuations, in reality the total valuation of the actual acquisitions themselves are therefore pretty damn close to the 7.7B I mentioned. It will probably go towards 9B max. Which Sony can definitely afford. The risk wouldn't be too big. If they lose all of that it would set them back a little bit more than half a year, and that's only if they lose it all. Which let's be real, the hype alone would not make that happen. And even if it did, the positive buzz would also add valuation to Sony. It would add to Sony's public perception and image. Even if that can't always be put into numbers, that stuff is invaluable.

The selling price of the devs I mentioned will again probably be max 9B. Remember that I gave them super generous valuations. And even though they aren't mired in any way shape or form, they are upstarts with limited cumulative sales. Whereas Activision-Blizzard has proven over a decade long without fail that they are one of the best in the game sales wise.

As said previously, companies aren't static assets. People work there. People have preferences, dreams and aspirations. If people dont agree with the huge companies you mentioned who are able to make bigger bids, they will eventually leave. What will you have bought by then by overbidding? A shell of a company that basically is nothing more than just a name and showing how big your dick is. Game Science, the studio behind Black Myth: Wukong left Tencent to work on their own stuff. You can say all you want about Sony, but very few publishers give their devs almost free reign to what they develop. That and Sony being seen as this prolific publisher, offering the highest quality that people have ever experienced would want to make devs and companies join them. Many devs want to improve. Within Sony they can. It's no secret many studios share their tech and ideas with each other within Sony.

Isn't Sony acquiring the devs I mentioned and making them make great quality games not them doubling down what they are already doing? In contrary you just mentioned the idea of Sony putting their 1st party games on PC day 1 with a PC launcher. How is that even doubling down on what they are doing? They've never done that before. Plus this would not only make them compete with Microsoft, this will also make them compete with Epic Games. I imagine Sony would want to keep Epic Games as their ally and not their enemy. Making them your enemy might make you lose out on their Unreal Engine 5, which everyone is so impressed by. That would definitely hurt Sony in some areas. Sony just made an effort to strengthen their relationship with Epic Games, it makes no sense to create that relationship and then instantly destroying that. You would've been basically investing into that without reaping any rewards from that. That's just not a good business move.

Oh yeah, staying complacent and not doing anything when your competitor just acquired one of the biggest publishers ever and hoping for the best gives you control. Like how's that even logical lol. If Microsoft can buy Activision-Blizzard, they can buy any other publisher. Sony's stock dropped 20B in a day time. Not acquiring anything would put them on the spot where they will have less and less choice of the ones they wanna buy, it would only mean it's harder for them to hire any new talent. Not to mention they risk of getting their stock value drop more and more while the competition is getting stronger and stronger. Sony now just lost 20B with nothing gained. Better to spend that 20B and get something in return wouldn't you say?

I don't know why you gave that example, that was a different time with different circumstances. It's really not comparable by any means.

Your last paragraph just described what I said earlier. The acquisitions I mentioned are all devs who have a good relationship with Sony and aside from Capcom, they are all quite new. Some of them havent even put out a game yet. Also what I mentioned just means they are doing exactly what they are doing now, they would just be more aggressive about it and speed up the process they were going towards anyways. I never said they should change their approach, unlike you did. For example putting their 1st party titles on PC with a PC launcher. They've never ever done what you suggested. If they followed your approach THEN they'd be changing their ways of how they tackle things now.

 
If they buy any companies, I'd say just stick to Japanese ones. SE, cause having the FF and TR (with a proper reboot more like the OG games) IPs would be huge. Konami have great IPs with great potential, as well, like SH and MG. Hell, they could make extra money from pachinko machines, too. From Software would be a good one, too, with exclusive Souls games. Could also reboot King's Field and turn it into a new ES.
 
Top Bottom