Why it matters: The acclaimed developer behind PS4 hit Spider-Man is being acquired by Sony. This purchase seems to signal that Sony wants to continue the success of narrative-driven, single-player games that has propelled the PS4 to one of the best selling consoles of all time. With Microsoft and Google looking to the cloud, Sony may have to convince some gamers that buying a console is still worth it.
Insomniac Games, the developer behind some of the most recognizable PlayStation games will be acquired by Sony. While the news isn't necessarily surprising given Insomniac's PlayStation-centric library, it signals that Sony will continue to invest in first party studios to beef up its highly regarded lineup of exclusive games.
Insomniac has been behind some of the most beloved PlayStation franchises such as Spyro the Dragon, Resistance, Ratchet & Clank, and most recently Spider-Man. While the studio focused much of its development for PlayStation as a second party, it wasn't afraid to dip its toes in other platforms. Insomniac is the developer behind the Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive, Sunset Overdrive, as well as an open-world Oculus VR title called Stormland.
Big news: @InsomniacGames is joining PlayStation’s Worldwide Studios! We are honored and thrilled to join forces with this legendary developer. Please join us in congratulating our friends and partners at Insomniac! pic.twitter.com/hhhqhxZE7k— PlayStation (@PlayStation) August 19, 2019
The PS4 has been quite the boon for Sony, selling 100 million units and easily winning this console generation sales-wise. A big factor to the PS4's success has been the incredible first-party exclusive games such as God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Spider-Man. Sony's purchase of Insomniac is a clear signal that the company wants to keep the exclusive train rolling even as competitors such as Microsoft are embracing cross-platform availability.
That said, even Microsoft recognizes the value of having compelling exclusive games and went on a shopping spree itself, most recently purchasing Double Fine Studios. However, it seems that Microsoft's ultimate goal is to fill Xbox Game Pass (and by extension xCloud) with a bunch of worthwhile titles while Sony wants to sell hardware.
"The decision to join forces with Sony extends far beyond familiarity. Our studio vision is to create experiences that have a positive and lasting impact on people’s lives. As we look ahead to our future, we know that joining the WWS family gives us the best opportunities to fully achieve that vision on a much larger scale. Further, we believe that Sony shares a similar vision to positively impact players’ lives, their employees’ lives and the games industry at large.
So today merely marks the beginning of a new chapter in our studio’s growth and evolution. We’re excited to put Insomniac in the best position to deliver fresh experiences for our fans for many years to come. Our structure and approach will remain intact across both Burbank and Durham, NC studios, and we will continue to cultivate our unique culture."
One thing to remember with the success of the PS4, is also the success of single-player games. Sony's insistence with putting out narrative-driven, single-player games is notable considering the rise of open-world multiplayer games driven by microtransactions and loot boxes. It seems that Sony is confident that exclusive single-player games will continue to sell hardware. We will see if that bet continues to pay off as Google and Microsoft see the cloud as the ultimate endgame.