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Analyzing the expansion strategies of Microsoft Gaming, PlayStation Studios, and Nintendo EPD

Jubenhimer

Member
Recently, Microsoft's gaming division announced yet another massive publisher acquisition. This, time, $70 billion merger with Activision Blizzard, Known for Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, and World of Warcraft. While Microsoft promises that mainline Activision franchises like CoD will remain multiplatform, nothing has been garuenteed in regards to dormant or new IP from the company.

Microsoft's moves to acquire large companies is merely one example of how platform holders are building up development networks to build their lineup of games and exclusive content.

With Microsoft, the gaming division now has four publishing entities, Xbox Game Studios, Bethesda Softworks, Activision, and Blizzard Entertainment. Between them, Microsoft has access to more 20+ game studios. More than any major game company.

While Microsoft is gobbling up entire publishers, the other two major platform holders, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Nintendo have also been making moves of their own to grow in a rapidly changing industry.

Sony has decided to play it safe with expansion, bolstering the PlayStation Studios group with more strategic buys. Housemarque, a long-time partner of Sony, joined the fold following the success of its newest game, Returnal. Beyond that, the new teams brought in were made to fill a specific role within the Sony-owned developer. Valkyrie Entertainment, working as a support studio, FireSprite, serving as a VR team, and Nixxes, which works of ports of PC games. Sony is also patterning with external teams to work on new titles such as Firewall and Haven Studios. While Microsoft is taking the agressive approach, Sony is playing it smart by simply building upon it's existing development network.

That just leaves Nintendo, and it's Entertainment Planning and Development division (EPD). The Switch's success gave Nintendo the resources needed to expand on its already acclaimed exclusive games lineup. But rather than focus on acquisitions, Nintendo is taking the more risky approach by expanding it's existing software production R&D. The company recently began building two new development centers near it's HQ in Kyoto, one near it's Kyoto Research Center, and the other on its main campus. This is to help bring more of the development of its games and franchises internally, rather than outsourcing them to external developers. It also gives Nintendo more teams to work with independent and acquires studios on more games. It's clear Ninty is taking the harder road hoping for a greater return, but it makes sense for a company that built it's entire empire on homemade software.

How do you think these expansions of Sony and Nintendo help them to keep up with Microsoft's agressive efforts?
 
Nintendo has always been its own metaverse so to speak and their output has largely been the same over the last 30 years

I suspect Sony is trying to go this route with their own little world of studios and games but to honest they will not have spread to be able put out as many 1st party titles at scale when compared to ms…they just don’t have the bandwidth to do so

This will become more apparent as time goes on and unless they throw coin at expanding their studios to put out more games they are going to finish this gen at the bottom end from where they started in terms of what gets played the most under the tv
 

Topher

Gold Member
In the end, for me, the only difference any of this makes is what company logos I see when starting up a game. Having said that, if Microsoft make Blizzard, a company I used to care about, into something resembling what it used to be then I'm fine with it.

But I'll always be a Sony fan as they make games I like to play. I think a lot of other people are the same way. Sony will be fine.
 

Edgelord79

Gold Member
Nice
Poster Picture It GIF by Mediamodifier
 
Nintendo won't care for any of this. They sellout with their IPs only.

Sony is trying to go for the Nintendo strategy and having their IPs as the reason people buy their hardware and services...but it's still not there for now. Maybe if their multiplayer games succeed.
I think they will try to go for one or 2 Japanese publishers - basically getting IPs that were always connected with Playstation (so Capcom and Square-Enix are my first 2 guesses) - maybe a mid-sized developer like Remedy and a few smaller studios (like Emberlab).

About Microsoft...it would be nice if people realized that they aren't doing this to "destroy Sony" but as a preemptive measure as companies as big as them are trying to get into this market like Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. One of these acquiring a huge publisher like Ubisoft or Take Two is much more likely than Sony. That's why as people keep talking about Sony vs MS, MS has been telling us Sony is not what they are thinking of right now. Phil said exactly this last week and it wasn't the first time.
 

Topher

Gold Member
... a play so smart they had reach out to Microsoft to make sure they're cash cow wasn't going away? What?

You just made me realize that Phil Spencer did not say the "calls" he had was with Jim Ryan, but "leaders at Sony". Jim Ryan and Phil Spencer are not on the same level. Pretty obvious now that I think about it.
 
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NahaNago

Member
Nintendo won't care for any of this. They sellout with their IPs only.

Sony is trying to go for the Nintendo strategy and having their IPs as the reason people buy their hardware and services...but it's still not there for now. Maybe if their multiplayer games succeed.
I think they will try to go for one or 2 Japanese publishers - basically getting IPs that were always connected with Playstation (so Capcom and Square-Enix are my first 2 guesses) - maybe a mid-sized developer like Remedy and a few smaller studios (like Emberlab).
I agree with them not being there and I honestly doubt they will ever be there. Sony is better at creating great games but fails in really taking advantage of their ip to make them a household name like halo and mario is. Most of the beloved franchises of the past for Sony were third party from final fantasy, street fighter, metal gear solid, tomb raider, and etc. This is in part due to the fact that Sony in the past has moved on from ips after a gen or 2. I think the only franchise still going from the ps1 era from Sony is Gran Turismo. Hopefully Ratchet and Clank can be almost as iconic as mario or sonic in the future.
 
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Stooky

Member
... a play so smart they had reach out to Microsoft to make sure they're cash cow wasn't going away? What?
Gamers decided that the overwhelming mojority play COD on playstation. Microsoft might have their back against the wall on this one.
 
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About Microsoft...it would be nice if people realized that they aren't doing this to "destroy Sony" but as a preemptive measure as companies as big as them are trying to get into this market like Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. One of these acquiring a huge publisher like Ubisoft or Take Two is much more likely than Sony. That's why as people keep talking about Sony vs MS, MS has been telling us Sony is not what they are thinking of right now. Phil said exactly this last week and it wasn't the first time.

Probably the biggest point….you don’t want an Apple gaming console….I love my iPhone but even I as a gamer can see it would be like putting bill cosby in charge of headache medication in a womens college ….our wallets would be raped
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Sony's strategy is to buy small studios to keep making PS games. And if they are multiplat studios, they cut the cord on that. 100% PS going forward (aside from their new PC port strategy where a game may come to PC 4 years later). The focus is Sony ecosystem and traditional game sales.

MS strategy is to buy small or giant gaming companies to make games for Xbox, PC, while still supporting competing platforms if some games are there. The focus is Xbox, PC and at some point when xcloud really ramps up (I think only 100 games are playable now?) any device that can handle xcloud. Sub plan focused
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Probably the biggest point….you don’t want an Apple gaming console….I love my iPhone but even I as a gamer can see it would be like putting bill cosby in charge of headache medication in a womens college ….our wallets would be raped
Just imagine what a second controller would cost.
 

TGO

Hype Train conductor. Works harder than it steams.
In the 360/PS3 gen the overwhelming majority played COD on the 360. That player base is loyal to the game, not the plastic box it's on.
The 360 had a install base of 83 million though
 

ZehDon

Member
Gamers decided that the overwhelming mojority play COD on playstation. Microsoft might have their back against the wall on this one.
The fastest way to change that would be to not put COD on PlayStation. We're also seeing discussions about not even doing annualised releases for Call of Duty. So, frankly, Microsoft's back isn't against any wall - they're the ones holding all the cards. Sony's back is firmly against the wall - their chief competitor just bought their golden goose. Sony's PSN profits are driven by microtransactions from GTAV and COD. Sony shifted focus to making single player cinematic titles and abandoned virtually everything else. It's a massive blunder that Microsoft is now absolutely poised to take advantage of.
 

Jubenhimer

Member
The fastest way to change that would be to not put COD on PlayStation. We're also seeing discussions about not even doing annualised releases for Call of Duty. So, frankly, Microsoft's back isn't against any wall - they're the ones holding all the cards. Sony's back is firmly against the wall - their chief competitor just bought their golden goose. Sony's PSN profits are driven by microtransactions from GTAV and COD. Sony shifted focus to making single player cinematic titles and abandoned virtually everything else. It's a massive blunder that Microsoft is now absolutely poised to take advantage of.
Sony's answer is to try and build their own line of multiplayer titles. Creating something unique and fun from Call of Duty will, in the long-term, be the better answer than trying to buy another big brand. Besides that, it doesn't look like CoD will not be on PlayStation for the time being, rather it may be that all the perks that PlayStation got such as premiere map releases will go to Xbox again like in the 360 days.
 

ZehDon

Member
Sony's answer is to try and build their own line of multiplayer titles. Creating something unique and fun from Call of Duty will, in the long-term, be the better answer than trying to buy another big brand. Besides that, it doesn't look like CoD will not be on PlayStation for the time being, rather it may be that all the perks that PlayStation got such as premiere map releases will go to Xbox again like in the 360 days.
Sure, but Sony will need to move its studios over to focus on multiplayer titles, when they just spent the last generation moving their studios over to making cinematic single player games. That's gonna take a while before they're firing on all cylinders. As for COD, all we know is that the deal doesn't close until mid 2023. I believe Sony's marketing deal runs out that same year. So, COD on PS in 2023 is a safe bet. 2024? No one knows - but it's safe to say you don't spend USD$70b for early map packs.
 
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EDMIX

Member
We're also seeing discussions about not even doing annualised releases for Call of Duty.
Nah, we are seeing a rumor by Jason, MS has never confirmed or stated anything like that and I doubt you'll stop seeing yearly COD, that is how the even got to this point in terms of their value, profits etc.
Sony shifted focus to making single player cinematic titles and abandoned virtually everything else
Just stop lol This is more so a comment that people make, yet don't prove.

Dreams
LBP
Driveclub
GT series
Doki Doki Universe
Resogun
Singstar
Blood and truth
Sackboy
Tearaway
Concrete Genie
any of their VR shit, need I go on?

Sir...fucking stop spreading this myth, I've heard this claim more then I've seen anything to prove it.

Sony's answer is to try and build their own line of multiplayer titles.
This, as to why they have that AAA FPS title in development by the ex COD team. I do wonder if they'll revive Socom or Warhawk and who will be tasked with bringing them back
but Sony will need to move its studios over to focus on multiplayer titles,
Nope. I don't even fucking know why they would, nothing you are saying makes sense. They didn't do this before, they would have little reason to do such a thing now, it would just make more sense to just get a fucking team that DOES those games then force a team to do something they generally don't do, I've never heard Sony force any team to do stuff like this and generally they offer their teams lots of freedom to move on and do new IP.


=)
moving their studios over to making cinematic single player games
The teams that do those cinematic games have also been doing them for like 20 years lol That isn't shifting anyone to do anything they were not already doing before.

From Uncharted to The Last Of Us
From Infamous to Ghost Of Tsushima
From Syphon Filter to Days Gone
From God Of War.....to God Of war...2018 lol
From Ratchet, to Resistance to BOTH Ratchet and Spiderman

Look...you don't really have much of a solid argument here that anyone shifted to doing something they didn't already do before and I don't see anything that suggest Sony was "moving" those studios to do anything tbh. Not saying its not true, simply prove your point.

Give the evidence, give the links, show that those teams were shifted, moved etc into do something they historically have never done.

I'd argue voice acting, a story, big set pieces are standard for lots of studios owned by Sony, that was never a thing that was disregarded prior, you'll see that if you look deep enough, most of those studios been doing their games like that. So a 3rd person game with a story, voice acting, mo-cap etc isn't some concept they need to force upon those studios, that is generally what most of them did for generations freely lol
 

Stooky

Member
The fastest way to change that would be to not put COD on PlayStation. We're also seeing discussions about not even doing annualised releases for Call of Duty. So, frankly, Microsoft's back isn't against any wall - they're the ones holding all the cards. Sony's back is firmly against the wall - their chief competitor just bought their golden goose. Sony's PSN profits are driven by microtransactions from GTAV and COD. Sony shifted focus to making single player cinematic titles and abandoned virtually everything else. It's a massive blunder that Microsoft is now absolutely poised to take advantage of.
We’ll see. So far no plans to keep COD exclusive. That speaks volumes.
 

Stooky

Member
In the 360/PS3 gen the overwhelming majority played COD on the 360. That player base is loyal to the game, not the plastic box it's on.
That’s sounds great if Microsoft bought activision 12 years ago. I’m looking at numbers from PS4 gen and this current GEN. You can’t argue COD numbers on PlayStation.
 

EDMIX

Member
That’s sounds great if Microsoft bought activision 12 years ago. I’m looking at numbers from PS4 gen and this current GEN. You can’t argue COD numbers on PlayStation.

Agreed and we don't really know how much of that base will even move over if and when COD goes to only 2 platforms. Won't happen this year, but if it happens next year, lots can happen and every major publisher is going to be fucking gunning to replace COD, be like "We on ALL PLATFORMS DOE, CROZZZ PLAYZZZ" lol

APEX 2
Titanfall 3

.....MAG 2 (jumps out window for bringing up such a fanfiction thing)
 
Phil Spencer never said future Call of Duty games will be on PlayStation. It's a similar tweet to Bethesda tweet.

Desire could mean anything. It's a PR tweet that won't affect the Acquisition deal.
 
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Heimdall_Xtreme

Jim Ryan Fanclub's #1 Member
MS strategy is brilliant, because they get more studios and always have respect to the costumers.

Sony with Jim Ryan is so stupid... What they done to Japan Studio is horripilant.
 

MrFunSocks

Banned
While Microsoft promises that mainline Activision franchises like CoD will remain multiplatform
They've done no such thing.

Sony has decided to play it safe with expansion, bolstering the PlayStation Studios group with more strategic buys
I think buying a publisher is more strategic than buying companies that pretty much only ever worked with you in the past.

Probably the biggest point….you don’t want an Apple gaming console….I love my iPhone but even I as a gamer can see it would be like putting bill cosby in charge of headache medication in a womens college ….our wallets would be raped
One thing is for sure though - an Apple gaming console would be a hardware monster. I'd love to see it.
The 360 had a install base of 83 million though
At the end of the generation.....not when COD came out and started selling significantly more on Xbox.
 
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ZehDon

Member
We’ll see. So far no plans to keep COD exclusive. That speaks volumes.
... it speaks to the fact that a company commenting on publicly traded acquisitions before they're completed is literally illegal in US Law. It was the same with Bethesda, which eventuated with Starfield being exclusive. The only people holding out that Call of Duty remains completely multiplatform are the people who don't understand how much money USD$70b is. You don't spend the GDP of an entire country to buy something if you're not intending to change something. They've could outbid Sony's marketing deal for a few hundred million. They could've bought exclusivity for a few years for a few billion and change. They didn't do that. That speaks volumes.
 
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Microsoft’s acquisitions are not an efficient use of capital. It’s brute forcing your way to industry ownership to usher in the goal of a service platform that can one day be platform agnostic.

It’s hard to say if this strategy will ever be profitable, but MS is taking big risks with deals that have no realistic short term ROI, with a very challenging environment of trying to manage the albatross they’ve now become.

If they can raise GamePass to $20/month x 50 million subscribers that’s $12B a year in services revenue. How much does it cost to operate all their studios? I’d love to know. But it wouldn’t surprise me to see it exceed the revenue being brought in. Maybe MS sees much higher upside growth than 50M subs, but I’m skeptical

Sony’s approach is more efficient allocation of capital, less risk of studio turmoil, probably higher likelihood of better quality outcomes, but it’s a much slower pace of building up their studios. And these projects simply don’t have anywhere near the brand power to match something like CoD. But CoD may not be as dominant as it once was/is
 

Warablo

Member
Do you realize how long organic growth would take in today's climate starting from scratch? Not to mention even a bigger risk, just isn't worth it.

Easier and better to buy a established studio so they can start working on a game right away. Which sadly, bigger solo studios are harder and harder to come by because it's a tough business to keep going without a publisher.
 
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TGO

Hype Train conductor. Works harder than it steams.
At the end of the generation.....not when COD came out and started selling significantly more on Xbox.
Just so we're on the same page, when we say COD we mean Modern Warfare (because that when it became what it is today)

anyway, so yeah I should think so.
in November of 2007 Xbox 360 was going into it's 3rd year on the Market and had a healthy userbase
While PS3 had just done it's first year.
 

ParaSeoul

Gold Member
Sony and Nintendo buying exclusives and smaller studios, because they can:

chihuahua GIF



MS buying everything they want... because... well, they can:

mean chihuahua dog GIF


In the end of the day there's no strategy, just how much money they have to buy the things they want to make more money.

show me the money GIF
Companies are your friend.
 

Fredrik

Gold Member
I don’t really care as long as I get great games, can’t see any scenario where I don’t have all consoles and a PC anyway.
I like Microsoft’s approach though since gaming became so much cheaper with Gamepass.
 
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Tschumi

Member
I guess if it was me I'd head hunt outcasts.. to be honest, and i love the guy, i think hideo kojima would be hella susceptible to an ego-focused approach..
 
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