In context: Sony and Microsoft have been sparring with their next-gen consoles trying to attract gamers despite supplies on both sides not meeting demand. One tool in their arsenals is exclusive content. To that end, both companies have been snatching up third-party studios like mad.
Finnish game maker Housemarque, the developer of Returnal, is the newest studio to come under the PlayStation Studios umbrella. Vice President of Sony Computer Entertainment's Worldwide Studios Herman Hulst announced the news in a tweet from his account Tuesday morning. Hulst also issued a statement welcoming the studio to the PlayStation family.
"Today, I'm thrilled to welcome a new member to the PlayStation Studios family! I have been a fan of Housemarque since the studio's early days when they introduced Super Stardust HD to PlayStation fans. Housemarque's recent release of Returnal proves the studio is one with incredible vision, capable of creating memorable new games that resonate with our community. This addition enhances the creative force of PlayStation Studios, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Housemarque."
In a second tweet from Sony's Japanese PlayStation Twitter account, moderators accidentally posted an image indicating that Sony might also be acquiring Bluepoint Games. The tweet was quickly corrected, but not before someone grabbed the image and reposted it. Bluepoint is the development house behind the recent Demon's Souls remaster but is also responsible for bringing Shadow of the Colossus and the Uncharted series to modern consoles.
..so apparently PlayStation Japan uploaded the wrong image with their first tweet on Housemarque's acquisition, and it actually mentions a Bluepoint acquisition pic.twitter.com/yQBHtLbG5c--- Nibel (@Nibellion) June 29, 2021
The one and possibly two pickups are the latest in a run for corralling exclusive content for the PlayStation 5. Sony is still reeling from a devastating Microsoft acquisition when the Redmond giant bought out Zenimax last year. That purchase landed Bethesda, id Software, and others right into Microsoft's pocket. The Sony rival has already announced Starfield as an Xbox exclusive, which had to sting for Sony and PlayStation fans.
Both companies have been on a spending spree lately, seemingly vacuuming up studios left and right. In a discussion with Hulst, GQ referred to the buying frenzy as an "arms race." Hulst corrected that characterization.
"[It's not an arms race] at all," Hulst said. "We're very selective about the developers that we bring in. Our last new acquisition was Insomniac, which has worked out very well. 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."
Still, there is little doubt that Sony is trying to wrangle talent into its stables to ensure exclusive content for its new machine. The next-gen console wars have only just begun, and both sides want as much advantage as they can muster.