What we know about Sony acquiring Elden Ring dev FromSoftware
Apr 1, 2022
Rumors are abound that Sony is set to acquire famed developer FromSoftware, but is that actually true?
Elden Ring and Dark Souls fans woke up on April 1 to some surprising news. A number of individuals were reporting that the company behind the PlayStation brand had agreed to terms on acquiring the famed development studio responsible for Elden Ring. This followed months of rumors regarding a big Sony acquisition.
The fact that this news came on April Fools’ Day raised red flags with fans, but discussion of Sony acquiring FromSoftware started well beforehand. Because of that, it’s worth separating fact from fiction when it comes to this news, and what might happen if it were true.
Is Sony acquiring FromSoftware?
There is no hard evidence to suggest that Sony is poised to complete an imminent acquisition of FromSoftware.
The discussion on this topic has lingered for months now, with much of it stemming from speculation after Sony’s acquisition of Halo and Destiny developer Bungie in January. Analysis of the news probed the possibility of Japanese studios potentially being acquired by Sony, and whether Microsoft might look to do the same.
Things lingered from there and were kicked into overdrive on March 31 surrounding an episode of the Kinda Funny Games Daily podcast in which GamesBeat’s Jeff Grubb made an appearance. Grubb and host Greg Miller discussed this topic while both noting that they had heard from insiders that some sort of major acquisition was indeed in the works for Sony.
Neither Grubb nor Miller made any specific mention of FromSoftware as the company Sony was after. Though FromSoftware is the most talked-about studio by fans, developer CD Projekt Red and publishers Konami and Capcom have also been discussed. At this time, the notion that Sony is set to acquire FromSoftware specifically may just be wishful thinking from PlayStation fans.
The idea of Sony making another major acquisition does make sense. The company has been aggressively expanding over the last 12 months across the gaming and entertainment spaces. This includes the acquisitions of tournament organizer Evo, anime streaming service Crunchyroll, and game developer Bungie.
On top of this, Sony recently announced a new subscription service that combines PlayStation Plus with PS Now. The service is set to launch with over 700 games, but PlayStation has historically been buoyed by third-party releases. Series like Persona, Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and Kingdom Hearts are big parts of PlayStation history, but might not be a part of this revised service.
Sony acquiring studios with long legacies on PlayStation platforms helps to both flesh out its PlayStation Plus expansion and increase the number of PlayStation exclusives going forward. FromSoftware fits that bill, developing a number of PlayStation 1 and 2 exclusives before breaking out with Dark Souls. FromSoftware has also made a number of more recent PlayStation exclusives including PS4’s Bloodborne and PSVR title Déraciné.
If Sony was previously working on an acquisition of FromSoftware, it may be frustrated at the moment. The stock price of Kadokawa Corporation, FromSoftware’s parent company, has risen 38% over the last two months in large part due to the excitement for, and eventual success of, new release Elden Ring. The price tag for the developer has likely grown much larger as a result.
Would FromSoftware games be exclusive to PlayStation?
If Sony somehow acquired FromSoftware, it would likely mean the end of support for Xbox and Nintendo platforms. Future FromSoftware games would almost certainly be exclusive to PlayStation consoles.
Most major FromSoftware releases in recent years have launched on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox simultaneously. If Sony managed to acquire FromSoftware, it would likely mean that future installments of Dark Souls, Elden Ring, and any potential new franchises would at least be timed PlayStation exclusives. PC releases would be possible, but games like Horizon: Zero Dawn and God of War were only ported over to PC multiple years after their initial PlayStation launch.
Games like Sekiro and Dark Souls: Remastered wouldn’t necessarily be pulled off existing digital storefronts. But something like the enormous cross-platform release of Elden Ring might no longer be possibly if Sony were to buy FromSoftware.
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