Sony Interactive Entertainment has now acquired Housemarque, the Finnish developer behind Returnal, which follows the acquisition of Insomniac Games back in 2019. The number of acquisitions are fewer compared to Microsoft but Sony wants to make it clear that its notion of acquisitions are not random.
Speaking with GQ Magazine in a recent interview, PlayStation Studios’ head Hermen Hulst rejected the idea of there being an “arms race” between Sony and Microsoft when it comes to studio acquisitions.
“We’re very selective about the developers that we bring in,” Hulst said while explaining how Sony likes to seek new first-party additions. “I’m always looking for people that have a similar set of values, similar creative ambitions and work very well with our team that we can further invest in and help grow as creators. It’s not like we’re going around and just making random acquisitions.”
“They’re very, very targeted acquisitions of teams that we know well,” Hulst added. “The amount of collaboration between our external development group and Housemarque on the technical side, the production management side and even on the creative side has been so deep. So for us, it just makes so much sense to do that.
Interestingly, Hulst revealed that Sony and Housemarque were discussing an acquisition “for quite a while” and before Returnal was even released. Only Housemarque founders Ilari Kuittinen and Harri Tikkanen were aware, something Hulst said was necessary in order to not “distract the core group at Housemarque” from finishing the game.
Housemarque is now officially part of the PlayStation Studios family for an undisclosed sum. Sony previously acquired Insomniac Games for $229 million. Microsoft in contrast spent $7.5 billion on ZeniMax Media which brought numerous studios into the Xbox Game Studios fold, including Bethesda, Id Software, Arkane Studios, MachineGames, and more.
There may possibly be another acquisition on the cards for Sony though. Bluepoint Games, the developer behind the recent Demon’s Souls remake, as well as prior high-end remakes and remasters, may potentially be the next to join PlayStation Studios.