Brief history of Sony's M&A deals: how PlayStation brought together 20+ first-party studios

Sony remains one of the largest game publishers in the world, constantly expanding both through nurturing internal teams and buying new studios (e.g. its latest acquisition of Firewalk Studios). Here’s a brief guide to the history of PlayStation’s M&A deals and all the developers it currently owns.

All first-party studios owned by PlayStation, both organic and through M&A deals

How many M&A deals has Sony made to date?

Sony’s first gaming acquisition dates back to 1993 when its gaming division, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), was known under its original name Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). Since then, SIE has purchased 21 studios, some of which have already been shut down.

The list of game development companies that joined PlayStation through M&A deals includes Bend Studio, Naughty Dog, Guerrilla Games, Insomniac Games, Media Molecule, and more.

Among the acquired studios that didn’t live up to the present day:

  • Psygnosis — British developer founded in 1984. Known for games like Lemmings, Wipeout, and Colony Wars, it was acquired by PlayStation in 1993. The studio was renamed SCE Studio Liverpool in 2000, but ceased all operations in 2012. However, Sony renewed a trademark for the Psygnosis brand a couple of years ago;
  • Incognito Entertainment — US studio founded in 1999 and known for making some games in the Twisted Metal series, as well as online shooter Warhawk. It has been operating under Sony Computer Entertainment America between 2002 and 2009;
  • Zipper Interactive — US studio that was originally focused on different sim games like Top Gun: Hornet’s Nest and MechWarrior 3. It then created the SOCOM series for PlayStation and was acquired by Sony in 2006. However, the Japanese company closed Zipper in 2012, a couple of years after the release of multiplayer shooter MAG;
  • Sigil Games Online — US developer founded in 2002 by key creators of EverQuest. It has only released MMORPG Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, with management selling the company and its assets to Sony shortly after the troubled launch;
  • Evolution Studios — UK studio known for the WRC and MotorStorm series. Sony acquired the company in 2007 but shut it down almost nine years later. Evolution’s key developers then joined Codemasters.

SIE rarely discloses the financial terms of its acquisitions, so it is hard to say how much money the company has spent during its shopping spree. The only deals with exact amounts are Insomniac Games ($229 million) and Bungie ($3.6 billion).

In addition to the acquired studios, Sony also owns stakes in video game companies like Devolver Digital, FromSoftware, and Epic Games.

How many first-party studios does PlayStation own?

On April 20, SIE announced the acquisition of Firewalk Studios, a studio founded by former Bungie developers. It is said to be the 20th game developer to join PlayStation Studios.

However, the list of Sony’s first-party teams is a little longer if we count support studios that don’t directly develop new games but help other subsidiaries with their work.

These studios are distributed across Asia, Europe, and North America and are united under the PlayStation Studios brand. Sony first established this label in 2005 by forming SCE Worldwide Studios and rebranding it two years ago. At various times, the division was managed by Phil Harrison and Shuhei Yoshida. PlayStation Studios is currently led by Guerilla Games co-founder Hermen Hulst.

Below you can see the full list of Sony-owned subsidiaries (excluding support studio San Mateo Studio, which mainly works with other teams and oversees the production process) with brief information about each of them.

Polyphony Digital

Founded: 1998

Based in: Tokyo, Japan

Brief history: Originally known as Polys Entertainment, it was a part of Sony’s Japan Studio. In 1998, the studio was renamed Polyphony Digital with a focus on racing games. It remains one of the company’s oldest first-party teams.

Notable game releases: The Gran Turismo series.

Future projects: Although Polyphony Digital plans to further support its latest release, Gran Turismo 7, it probably has a new project in the early stages of development. Although the official announcement is yet to be made.

Santa Monica Studio

Founded: 1999

Based in: Los Angeles, US

Brief history: Sony veteran Allan Becker founded Santa Monica Studio because he wanted more creative freedom. It currently serves not only as a first-party developer, but also as an incubator for various indie teams making games for PlayStation.

Notable game releases: The God of War franchise.

Future projects: Following the successful launch of God of War Ragnarok, Santa Monica Studio will continue to further expand the series. However, the studio’s creative director Cory Barlog is now also working on an unannounced project, which might be based on a new IP.


Founded: 2000

Based in: Liverpool, England

Brief history: Originally a part of Studio Liverpool, XDev became a new entity after Sony closed Psygnosis in 2012. It currently serves as the Japanese company’s main co-development team, which helps other studios make exclusive games for PlayStation. Over the years, XDev has collaborated with companies like Quantic Dream, Supermassive Games, Sumo Digital, as well as Sony’s first-party studios.

Notable game releases: Heavenly Sword, Heavy Rain, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Returnal, Until Dawn, and more.

Bend Studio

Founded: 1992

Based in: Bend, Oregon (US)

Joined Sony: 2000

History of partnership with PlayStation: Known back then as Eidetic, the studio started working with Sony in the late 90s by developing the Syphon Filter series for the first PlayStation. In 2000, SCE acquired Eidetic and renamed it Bend Studio. After abandoning the Syphon Filter franchise, the studio has mainly worked on titles based on Uncharted and Resistance IPs for PlayStation’s handheld consoles.

Notable game releases: Days Gone, an open-world zombie action game and Bend’s first original IP after Syphon Filter. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, it has built a loyal fan base and found new success after its launch on PC. However, Sony still considers Days Gone a failure.

Future projects: Bend is now working on an open-world game based on a new IP, but details about it remain undisclosed.

Naughty Dog

Founded: 1984

Based in: Santa Monica, California (US)

Joined Sony: 2001

History of partnership with PlayStation: Naughty Dog released its first game for PlayStation in 1996, platformer Crash Bandicoot. Following its huge commercial success, the studio decided to further partner with SCE, which acquired the team in 2001.

Notable game releases: Rings of Power (for old RPG heads) and several successful series such as Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter, Uncharted, and The Last of Us.

Future projects: Naughty Dog is now working on a standalone multiplayer project set in The Last of Us universe. Some rumors suggest that there is also a potential sequel in the making, as well as a game based on a new IP.

San Diego Studio

Founded: 2001

Based in: San Diego, US

Brief history: Sony established San Diego Studio following a merger of Red Zone Interactive and 989 Sports. The team, primarily focused on sports titles, originally served as a support studio for third-party developers making games for PlayStation.

Notable game releases: Multiple NBA games and the MLB The Show franchise.

Future projects: Given its portfolio and track record, San Diego Studio will most likely continue to make baseball games.

London Studio

Founded: 2002

Based in: London, England

Brief history: Sony established London Studio after merging Psygnosis’s Camden studio and The Getaway developer Team Soho. Since then, the developer has experimented with various technologies and worked on multiple games, including the canceled PS3 exclusives Eight Days and The Getaway 2.

Notable game releases: The SingStar and EyeToy series, as well as VR shooter Blood & Truth.

Future projects: It has been a while since London Studio properly announced a new project, but it is now reportedly working on an online combat game set in a fantasy London.

Guerrilla Games

Founded: 2000

Based in: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Joined Sony: 2005

History of partnership with PlayStation: Originally known as Lost Boys Games, the studio has developed a few games for Game Boy. But after turning into Guerrilla Games and following the release of the first Killzone in 2004, it signed a multi-year deal with Sony to develop titles for PlayStation consoles. In December 2005, the company was acquired by SCE.

Notable game releases: The Killzone series, which includes four main installments and two portable games, and the Horizon franchise, which currently consists of two titles (and their expansions) and one VR spin-off, Call of the Mountain.

Future projects: Guerrilla Games plans to further expand the Horizon IP, with a multiplayer game and a mobile spin-off reportedly in the works.

Media Molecule

Founded: 2006

Based in: Guildford, England

Joined Sony: 2010

History of partnership with PlayStation: While still working at Peter Molyneux’s Lionhead Studios, Kareem Ettouney, Alex Evans, and Mark Healey secured an investment from Sony and founded the studio in 2006. The team went on to develop LittleBigPlanet, with SCE acquiring Media Molecule in 2010.

Notable game releases: The LittleBigPlanet series and Dreams, a UGC platform that allows players to make their own worlds and games.

Future projects: Media Molecule recently announced that it will end live service support for Dreams this September, so it is unclear what the future holds for the team.

Sucker Punch Productions

Founded: 1997

Based in: Bellevue, Washington (US)

Joined Sony: 2011

History of partnership with PlayStation: In 2002, Sucker Punch pitched stealth platformer Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus to Sony, and the game ended up becoming a commercial hit. The studio has been working closely with PlayStation ever since, with the Japanese company acquiring it in 2011.

Notable game releases: The Sly Cooper and Infamous series, as well as Ghost of Tsushima.

Future projects: Given Ghost of Tsushima’s success, it is fair to assume that Sucker Punch could be working on its sequel. But there have been no official announcements yet.

Team Asobi

Founded: 2012

Based in: Tokyo, Japan

Brief history: Team Asobi was established in 2012 as part of Sony’s now-closed Japan Studio, working on tech demos to show the new features of PS4 and PS5. It officially became a part of PlayStation Studios in 2021 as a new development studio.

Notable game releases: Astro Bot: Rescue Mission and Astro’s Playroom.

Future projects: Team Asobi said it will continue to experiment with new technologies and focus on “colorful games for all ages.” Right now, the studio is preparing to start production on a 3D action title.


Founded: 2014

Based in: San Mateo, California (US)

Brief history:

Notable game releases: Sony formed PixelOpus after sponsoring a game development program at Carnegie Mellon University in 2012. It originally consisted of nine university graduates, with industry veteran Dominic Robilliard serving as its creative director.

Notable game releases: Rhytm game Entwined and action-adventure title Concrete Genie.

Future projects: PixelOpus is now reportedly working on a PS5 exclusive in collaboration with Sony Pictures Animation.

Insomniac Games

Founded: 1994

Based in: Burbank, California (US)

Joined Sony: 2019

History of partnership with PlayStation: Insomniac has been making games for the PlayStation platform since the late 90s, starting its road to fame with platformer Spyro the Dragon. In 2019, Sony paid $229 million to fully acquire the studio.

Notable game releases: Series like Spyro, Ratchet & Clank, and Resistance, as well as Marvel’s Spider-Man.

Future projects: Right now, Insomniac Games is working on a sequel to Spider-Man expected to launch later this year. There is also Marvel’s Wolverine in development for PS5.


Founded: 1995

Based in: Helsinki, Finland

Joined Sony: 2021

History of partnership with PlayStation: Dubbed the oldest game development studio in Finland, Housemarque is known for hardcore games like Resogun. Its strong cooperation with PlayStation started a few years ago when the company announced its first AAA game Returnal. Shortly after its release, it was acquired by SIE.

Notable game releases: Resogun, Nex Machina, the Stardust series, and Returnal.

Future projects: It is unclear what Housemarque is currently working on, so it could either be a Returnal sequel or a new IP.

Nixxes Software

Founded: 1999

Based in: Utrecht, Netherlands

Joined Sony: 2021

History of partnership with PlayStation: Sony acquired Nixxes in 2021 to bolster its PC expansion ambitions. The studio has already ported Marvel’s Spider-Man and its expansion, Miles Morales, to PC.

Notable game releases: Ports of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Hitman: Absolution, Thief (2014), as well as a few installments in the Legacy of Kain and Tomb Raider series.

Future projects: It is clear that Nixxes will continue to develop PC versions of Sony’s first-party games, especially given its experience and the overall good quality of the ports it creates.


Founded: 2012

Based in: Liverpool, England

Joined Sony: 2021

History of partnership with PlayStation: Firesprite was founded by former members of Studio Liverpool (aka Psygnosis), so its connection to Sony is pretty obvious. In 2021, SIE acquired the studio to strengthen its “exclusive games catalog in genres outside of PlayStation Studios’ core offerings.” Later that year, Firesprite also snapped up Fabrik Games.

Notable game releases: VR survival horror The Persistence and co-development of Horizon Call of the Mountain.

Future projects: Firesprite is now reportedly working on a AAA narrative-driven survival horror made with Unreal Engine.

Bluepoint Games

Founded: 2006

Based in: Austin, Texas (US)

Joined Sony: 2021

History of partnership with PlayStation: Bluepoint first partnered with Sony in 2006 to develop remasters of the first two God of War games. Since then, it has worked on several HD versions and remakes of PlayStations classics before being acquired by SIE in 2021.

Notable game releases: Remasters of Uncharted, Gravity Rush, Ico, and Shadow of the Colossus, as well as the Demon’s Souls remake.

Future projects: In 2021, Bluepoint president Marco Thrush told IGN that the studio is working on “original content right now”.

Valkyrie Entertainment

Founded: 2002

Based in: Seattle, Washington (US)

Joined Sony: 2021

History of partnership with PlayStation: As an outsourcing studio, Valkyrie Entertainment has worked with Sony on Infamous 2, Twisted Metal, God of War Ragnarok, and some other titles. In 2021, SIE acquired the company for an undisclosed sum.

Notable game releases: The studio’s only original title is free-to-play tactics game Guns Up.

Future projects: According to Herman Hulst, Valkyrie Entertainment “will be making invaluable contributions to key PlayStation Studios franchises,” meaning more co-development work on the company’s first-party games.

Haven Studios

Founded: 2021

Based in: Montreal, Quebec (Canada)

Joined Sony: 2022

History of partnership with PlayStation: Started by Jade Raymond, experienced game executive and producer of the first Assassin’s Creed, Haven Studios was acquired by Sony in March 2022. This was SIE’s first M&A deal in Canada.

Future projects: Haven Studios is working on an exclusive live service game for PS5. On top of that, the studio is focused on R&D to build a cloud technology that will be a foundation for future live service titles under the PlayStation brand.


Founded: 1991

Based in: Chicago, Illinois (US)

Joined Sony: 2022

History of partnership with PlayStation: Bungie has a long history of collaborating with the industry’s largest publishers. It was a part of Microsoft between 2000 and 2007 and created the Halo series. In 2010, the studio signed a 10-year deal with Activision Blizzard but terminated it in 2019. It remained fully independent before being acquired by Sony for $3.6 billion last year. It is worth noting that Bungie is not a part of PlayStation Studios, having the right to self-publish its future projects.

Notable game releases: The Halo and Destiny series.

Future projects: One of the key points of the Bungie acquisition for Sony is the studio’s experience with the GaaS business model. The company wants to use the team’s expertise to launch 10 new live service titles from different first-party teams by March 2026. Bungie itself will retain full creative freedom and independence.

Savage Game Studios

Founded: 2020

Based in: Berlin, Germany / Helsinki, Finland

Joined Sony: 2022

History of partnership with PlayStation: Sony acquired Savage Game Studios, which consists of two teams based in Germany and Finland, last August. Its key members include former Rovio, Rockstar, Wargaming, and Next Games employees.

Future projects: Savage Game Studios will create new mobile titles based on PlayStation IPs, as well as an unannounced AAA live service action game for iOS and Android.

Firewalk Studios

Founded:  2018

Based in: Bellevue, Washington (US)

Joined Sony: 2023

History of partnership with PlayStation: Originally a part of ProbablyMonsters, Firewalk signed a publishing deal with Sony last year. The studio, led by former Destiny developers, was then acquired by PlayStation Studios to grow the company’s live service operations.

Future projects: Firewalk Studios is working on a AAA multiplayer title based on a new original IP. It is expected to launch on PS5 and PC.

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