Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) announced it has agreed to acquire Firewalk Studios from ProbablyMonsters Inc. Previously SIE and Firewalk had announced an exclusive publishing partnership for an upcoming game.
ProbablyMonsters was founded in Bellevue, WA in 2016, with Firewalk Studios launching in 2018. In September 2021, ProbablyMonsters raised $200 million and announced a publishing partnership with SIE for an upcoming title from Firewalk.
In early 2022, ProbablyMonsters raised another $250 million to fund additional studios. So it appears the deal is primarily about the unnamed AAA title that Sony is publishing. The other ProbablyMonsters studios include Cauldron and Battle Barge. They are working on separate titles.
It is interesting to note that ProbablyMonsters was founded by Harold Ryan, former CEO of Bungie which Sony acquired last year. This is all part of an effort to boost Sony’s live service game development, an area the company had fallen behind in recent years.
Not much is known about the upcoming Firewalk game. Despite having an established team of industry developers, Firewalk and ProbablyMonsters have yet to publish a game However, the acquisition is a clear sign that Sony is impressed with what they have seen.
There has been a great deal of speculation that Sony will look to purchase a major game publisher to counter Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. However, CFO Hiroki Totki recently told investors that Sony has $5 billion to spend on strategic investments in 2023. That is nowhere near what it would cost to acquire a major video game publisher.
The smaller acquisition of a single development studio/IP seems to fit more in line with Sony’s stated investment plans. DFC Intelligence has always believed that these more targeted investments are a better strategy than trying to buy the baggage that comes with a major publishing entity.