This week, a rumor that Sony Interactive Entertainment was in board-level talks to acquire Take-Two Interactive made the rounds, and while the rumor has since been debunked by Sony itself, it begs the question: who should Sony acquire? Some may say that the PlayStation makers are in no need of bulking up, and would point to the terrific catalogue of PlayStation 4 exclusives Sony has built-up this generation as proof. And this is a valid point, but with Microsoft buying up studios like it's going out of style and other big companies lurking, it may be wise for Sony to splash some cash and add to its arsenal.
That said, who would be a smart acquisition for Sony? Well, I think there's many developers, big and small, that would be great additions to the Sony family. But for the purpose of this article, I'm going to narrow it down to five studios, and exclude any larger publishers that would require larger deals like Capcom, Bethesda, Square Enix, etc. Because while I think it's possible Sony could splurge on companies of this size, I don't think it's as likely as it adding a single studio.
Anyway, without further ado, here are the five developers I think Sony would be smart to acquire:
There aren't many developers better than CD Projekt Red right now. The Polish studio is rapidly growing, rapidly improving, and already has one of the best games of this generation under its belt in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. But further, it has one of the most-anticipated games of the future: Cyberpunk 2077. Simply put, when it comes to making open-world and story-driven games, the only team that gives CD Projekt Red a run for its money is Rockstar Games.
Sony would also be wise to establish a foothold in the budding Polish development scene (and the even larger eastern European development scene). Further, CD Projekt Red's games fit under the Sony MO of making high-quality, single-player, narrative-driven experiences. But it also adds to its portfolio, because if there is one place it could do a little bit better it is in expansive open-world storytelling. Horizon: Zero Dawn was a great crack at this, but CD Projekt Red are bar-setters in this regard.
Of course, acquiring CD Projekt Red wouldn't be easy. It has made it clear in the past it has no desire to be acquired, and possibly would fight off anyone that tried. But if Sony could get the Polish studio to play ball, I'm not sure it could find anyone that would give it more bang for its buck.
Insomniac Games is another studio that is fiercely independent, but one that Sony would be shrewd to try and convince it to join its family. The developer and Sony have a history working together, and are seemingly going to be working together for the long-haul on the new Marvel's Spider-Man series. So, why not just put a ring on it?
Insomniac Games already in many ways feels like a first-party Sony studio, and it has a special place in the heart of many PlayStation gamers. Further, when it comes to creating open-world games that are fun to play, there's not many better in the business.
Like many Sony studios, Playdead takes its times with its games. And as a result, it has shipped only two in 13 years, but both have been Game of the Year material, especially its latter game, Inside, which is not only one of the best games of 2016, but one of the best puzzle-platformers of all-time.
Playdead doesn't make mass-market games, and for that reason I think Sony would probably never be interested. But for hardcore gamers, the name Playdead has a lot of clout, and Sony would be perspicacious to add the Danish studio to its ranks, if not purely to hold up its review scores as a testament to the quality of first-party Sony releases each generation.
Further, when you consider Playdead is roughly a studio of about 40 people, it'd be a pretty risk-free investment. I'm not saying Playdead would ever want to lose its independence, but Sony should at least be knocking on its door.
After the success of Until Dawn and Supermassive Games making multiple PlayStation VR exclusive titles for Sony, I figured an acquisition of the UK studio may follow. But here we are, and Supermassive Games and Sony still only have a second-party relationship.
That said, it's never too late for Sony to add Supermassive Games to the PlayStation family. And with its second-party deal with Quantic Dream completed -- and with the Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human developer moving onto a multi-platform existence with NetEase backing it -- Sony potentially has a cinematic adventure game sized hole in its line-up going forward. And who's better to fill that hole than Supermassive Games?
Further, when you consider the studio is one of the most prolific VR developers in the industry, it makes even more sense for Sony to bring the team under its roof as it leads and pushes the VR market.
There aren't many great horror game developers in the industry, and even fewer that can tell good stories within the genre. But with the release of SOMA in 2015, Frictional Games proved it can do both.
There are a few genres currently missing in Sony's line-up, and horror is one of them. Sure, it had Until Dawn this generation, but that's it. There's demand for good horror games, and a Sony-backed Frictional Games could provide a steady and satiating supply of narrative-driven horror games. Sony wants story-driven experiences, Frictional Games can do that. Sony could also use a dedicated horror game developer, and again, there's not many better for that than Frictional Games. It's a match made in Heaven. Don't believe me? Just imagine what a AAA SOMA-style game could look like.