May 23, 2022

Phil Spencer Thinks Acquisitions are Good for the Industry

There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, yet

There have been a lot of discussions in recent months involving studio acquisitions in the industry.

Just last week, Sony announced it had acquired Housemarque in its most recent landmark move.

Famously, of course, is Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda last year in a move that came out of left-field at the time.

Phil Spencer recently joined IGN in celebration of 20 years of Xbox. In the podcast, Spencer spoke about acquisitions and the trend we’re seeing;

“Sometimes, I see dialogue out in the industry about, ‘well, are acquisitions a good thing or a bad thing?’ And I saw Sony just announced a couple of acquisitions [Spencer congratulated Sony on these moves], and I understand some of the sentiment from the community.

But one thing I’ll put out there is, starting a new studio – starting any small business, frankly – is a risky proposition. Starting a video game studio is even more so. And if a team actually takes the risk of starting a new company, a studio,…to say that they shouldn’t sell, I think is just short-sighted.

It doesn’t mean every team has to end up selling their studio. But I think it is a natural and healthy part of our industry. Certain teams will start a studio – many of them will fail. We know most small businesses will fail, whether it’s video games or anything else. But those that make it through to get to the point to create real value…I’m always going to congratulate them…”.

On the other side of the spectrum, we find head of PlayStation Studios, Hermen Hulst, who spoke to GQ recently.

Therein, Hulst noted how Sony is “very selective about the developers that we bring in”, and that he is “always looking for people that similar set of values…that we can further invest in”. Furthermore, Sony and PlayStation Studios is not “going around and just making random acquisitions”.

Of course, this is a small snippet of the wider interview (which I highly recommend you read if you’re interested in the Sony side of things, by the way). However, it’s clear to see that there are two vastly differing schools of thought going on between the two companies. Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, the trend probably isn’t going to die off anytime soon.

For a more in-depth look into the debate, why not check out our recent opinion piece on the subject.


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