After a long relationship together, Sony finally tied the knot with Insomniac Games in August 2019. While they have officially had a child together yet, we now know how much that wedding was: $229 million. And it was paid almost exclusively in cash.
GamesIndustry.biz found this information from a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That sum “may be adjusted by the end of fiscal year ending March 31, 2020, based on the final closing date financial statements of Insomniac Games,” but that $229 million is more or less pretty accurate to what Sony coughed up for the prestigious Burbank-based developer.
Sony has not acquired any studio since but that is quite a high number for one team; a number that likely soared after the success of Spider-Man. Not only was it a critical darling, but it also sold over 13 million copies as of August 2019.
This purchase was likely made, or at least sped up, by Microsoft’s purchasing spree where it acquired Double Fine, Inxile, Obsidian, Playground Games, Compulsion Games, and Ninja Theory in a relatively short span of time. There are even rumors of Microsoft purchasing a mysterious Polish studio, but that has not been confirmed and would go against Microsoft’s words in August 2019. This push should not only yield a steady stream of Game Pass games, but also more titles for Microsoft overall, which is where it faltered this generation.
Regardless, Insomniac’s high price tag and the sheer amount of teams Microsoft acquired shows how these first parties are gearing up for their next gen battles. Given how the boxes will be likely pretty similar this time around (more so than usual), the exclusive games will have to stick out even more.
But it does show different approaches. Sony may be opting to make its purchases big but less frequent, which would fit its style of having fewer games but ones that shake the industry. Microsoft, on the other hand, looks like it is scattering its purchases across the spectrum of budgets. Although we do know that Microsoft paid Starbreeze $13.2 million for Psychonauts 2‘s publishing rights, we don’t know how much Microsoft forked over for any of those other studios. But few of them probably matched that $229 million price tag and show how this war for exclusives will be fought with different approaches.
Sony could even be gearing up to buy more studios as there are some rumors suggesting Bluepoint is in the company’s crosshairs. This is plausible, given how many remasters the team has exclusively done for Sony and could all tie into the oft-rumored Demon’s Souls remake/remaster.