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Will Sony Buy Ubisoft or Square Enix Now (Or Both)?

After the monumental purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, a conversation has sparked about whether the future of the industry will fall into the hands of a few major companies, such as Sony, which some have speculated might be looking to buy Ubisoft or Square Enix. The Activision Blizzard purchase gives Microsoft and Xbox a huge chunk of the industry, as its acquisition are publishers that have multiple studios under them, such as Raven Software, Infinity Ward, and Vicarious Visions. Now the focus is on Sony and if they will look to purchase major studios in response, particularly Ubisoft and Square Enix.

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Sony is well known (and occasionally criticized for) their ownership of certain studios and their IPs. These include Naughty Dog, Insomniac, Sony Santa Monica, Guerilla Games, Housemarque, Bluepoint Games, and more. The difference between this exclusivity and the purchase by Microsoft is that these are individual studios, not publishers, that generally work on one to three games at any given time.

Related: What Song Is In The Final Fantasy Origin Trailer & Who Sings It

Sony is already seeing class-action lawsuits because of these exclusive deals. The accusations being made are that Sony’s exclusivity is anti-consumer and allegedly monopolizing the PlayStation Store’s digital downloads and pricing. Given the legal waters that Sony is already treading, and the possibility of Microsoft’s purchase to further complicate things, will Sony take the risk of buying two more large publishers?


Why Would Sony Buy Ubisoft And/Or Square Enix?

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Many may not know that these two companies own a collection of subsidiaries that develop their games. Square Enix, for example, generally credited for the Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy series, are comprised of studios like Eidos Montreal, Vision Works, and Crystal Dynamics, the last of which is rumored to be developing another Tomb Raider game. Square Enix is already flirting with PlayStation exclusivity with Forespoken, which is only releasing on PS5 and PC, so a purchase of the company doesn’t seem out of the question.

The same can be said for Ubisoft, which is generally credited when discussing titles like Assassin’s CreedRainbow Six, and the recently released Rider’s Republic, but the reality is that all of these games are developed by different studios under the Ubisoft umbrella. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was developed by Ubisoft Québec and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was developed by Ubisoft Montréal. Those two examples may sound like semantics given the “Ubisoft” prefix, but they are different studios in the same way that Red Storm Entertainment and Blue Mammoth are.


The main benefit to either purchase would be the ability to make any of these iconic and successful franchises some of the biggest PlayStation exclusives to date – the primary choices likely being Final Fantasy and Assassin’s Creed. The argument Sony could make for a decision like this is that Xbox has already started to claim exclusivity to franchises like The Elder Scrolls, which is one of the most successful in the industry. However, this argument would fall flat for many given the exclusives already owned by PlayStation, such as God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man, and individual titles like Ghost of Tsushima that compete with the likes of Elden Ring. It really is unclear as to what Sony would truly get out of a purchase like that, as the legal headache may prove too much, and its roster of studios and games is already quite substantial – so is it a move they’re willing to make?


Why Sony Won’t Buy Ubisoft Or Square Enix

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CEO of Xbox, Phil Spencer, stated that Activision Blizzard games won’t wholly become Xbox exclusives. Spencer said that “it is not our intent to pull communities away from that platform,” though some are certainly bound to become exclusive. One of the series that has been promised to remain multi-platform is Call of Duty, which is arguably the most influential franchise that might cause Sony to act. Other popular franchises such as Overwatch have yet to be commented on, though Spencer has been quite vocal about his dislike of exclusivity for years, so it’s likely he will be hesitant to make too many franchises exclusive to Xbox.


Related: Why Sony’s Focus On Generations Is Making PS5 Worse

Before Spencer’s above statement was made, PlayStation publicly stated that it didn’t believe Activision games would become Xbox exclusive, which leads one to think that there’s little worry about losing out on enough properties to warrant a purchase as big as Ubisoft or Square Enix. Not only that, but newzoo.com put a list together based on the financial reports of these companies which revealed that PlayStation is the second most profitable gaming company, leading Microsoft by nearly double as of Q2 2021, and only being topped by Tencent. While this ranking could easily change by the end of 2024, wherein Microsoft will likely have owned Activision Blizzard for a full fiscal year, PlayStation currently has little to worry about regarding lost profits.

Recent rulings for other large gaming companies are likely to promote hesitation on Sony’s part as well, that being the Epic Games v. Apple case. A large part of the legal dispute focused on Apple’s monopoly of the app store and in-app purchases. Though Epic Games lost to Apple on the other lawsuits, Epic did manage to achieve a major victory when the court ruled that Apple can’t prevent developers from using external payment options without Apple taking a cut (as it had previously done). Given the lawsuits regarding the PlayStation Store and its control of pricing, buying something as huge as either Ubisoft or Square Enix may simply be too much.


Although this is all speculation, Sony seems to have more to lose if it were to buy Ubisoft or Square Enix. Sony already profits more than most of its competitors, and with the increasing roster of good exclusive games, that will only continue to go up. In the case of Sony’s existing lawsuits, it’s easy to feel like companies that big can get away with bad practices, but the case against Apple, which is also more profitable than Microsoft, shows that this isn’t always the case. Putting all legal considerations aside, it might be a decision that wouldn’t go over well with gamers, and with many already looking at services like Game Pass as an incentive to switch to Microsoft, it could turn out to be the nail in the coffin.

Next: Why Microsoft Should (& Shouldn’t) Have Bought Activision Blizzard

Source: Newzoo.com

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