A reader argues that Sony’s purchase of Spider-Man and Ratchet & Clank developer Insomniac is better value for money than Microsoft buying Bethesda.
I’m sure there are some fanboys that will have pretended otherwise but I think most reasonable people would agree that the PlayStation Showcase was an extremely well put together event and that the vast majority of games looked very good. There were no major disappointments and several surprises. As far as I’m concerned it couldn’t have gone much better.
The biggest surprise was undoubtedly Marvel’s Wolverine. Seeing Spider-Man 2 was always an outside chance but getting a Wolverine game as well was a real shock, especially as they’re both by Insomniac Games. Now, neither game seems like it’s going to be out for at least two years but it’s still surprising that one studio could be working on two major games at once like that, especially as they already released both Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Spider-Man: Miles Morales within the same seven month period.
And let’s not forget that those seven months were during a pandemic and the launch window of a brand new console – and also that the games have some of the best graphics ever seen. And now Insomniac are working on two more. I don’t know another developer that could match that in terms of quantity of quality. And the thing is Sony only paid $229 million for them. An amount of money that, according to recent news, is the cost of a single AAA next gen game.
I’m sure Insomniac’s bosses got all kinds of stock options and what not – nobody major seems to have left the company since the acquisition – but that is such a steal it’s not even funny. By comparison Microsoft paid $7.5 billion for Bethesda. For Bethesda, a company that was a laughing stock only a couple of years ago for Fallout 76 and who’s top selling franchises – The Elder Scrolls and Fallout – have no new sequels due for at least three years.
To put that figure in context Disney only paid for $4 billion for Lucasfilm, not just Star Wars but all the other films like Indiana Jones and ILM too. Now, Lucas gave them favourable terms because he wanted to make sure he sold up to a company he trusted, which is probably what happened to Insomniac as well, but boy did Bethesda see Microsoft coming. That acquisition was a steal too, but for the developer this time – not the publisher.
Unlike Insomniac, Bethesda is more than one studio (I’d put MachineGames and Arkane Studios well above Bethesda Game Studios) but hilariously the next two Bethesda games are both PlayStation 5 exclusives. So not only will Sony have paid a fraction of the amount that Microsoft did for Bethesda but Insomniac are going to end up making more games for them in the first five years than all of Bethesda’s studios put together!
To me, this underlines the fact that Microsoft still feels very much like an inexperienced newcomer to the games industry, even though they’ve been in it for 20 years now. The PlayStation has only been around for five extra years and yet Sony seems so much more experienced and astute. They don’t spend money unnecessarily (in part because they haven’t got it to waste, unlike Microsoft) and they don’t make rash decisions.
I’m not suggesting for a second that they’re perfect – everything to do with pricing and upgrades this gen has been a shambles, and I think it’s only pride that’s stopping them from having a PlayStation Game Pass – but the impression they give is of a company with a plan. Whereas Microsoft just run around acting like a teenager with their parent’s credit card.
To make all these big budget games at once Insomniac must’ve greatly increased in size and that’s something Sony must’ve helped with, quietly and sensibly behind the scenes. That’s how you do it and they’re already reaping the benefits.
The thing is, I can’t even pretend to be a big fan of Ratchet & Clank but I love how polished all of Insomniac’s stuff is and the Spider-Man game was fantastic. So well done to them and well done to Sony for knowing how to spend their money sensibly.
By reader tvpizza
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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