Sony's future and possible studio/publisher acquisitions

Muddasar

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Bungie is GAAS. So them forgoing different markets were never a concern. Death Stranding is not a Sony ip. Never heard of FiST.

I don't think Sony will make their Triple A games day and date on PC. Thankfully Sony buying Larian is highly unlikely so i dont have to worry about it. 😊

Death Stranding is a Sony IP. The publishing rights were given to 505 for PC cause they had no PC label at the time.

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Yurinka

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Did sony give up in this area? Not alot has happened since Firewalk was acquired back in April.
Sony didn't give up.

Sony said they'll continue acquiring and that will focus acquisitions on entertainement, particularly gaming. But not now, they'll continue in the 'mid to long term'. Due to "unfavorable market conditions" they paused the acquisitions, spent remaining budget they had to buy servers for the gaming division and image sensors for the other one, and started a process that will take 2-3 years to sell 80% of their banks division to generate extra cash that they'll use in acquisitions. They also mentioned that want to take their time to make better acquisition evaluations and estimations.

In addition to this, they didn't mention it but in the recent years they made a lot of acquisitions, so it's good to pause a bit to make sure they properly integrate the new teams and that their related projects work properly before making another big acquisitions push.

But their are legit concerns with Sony buying Larian.
Larian said they won't sell.
 
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@Eternal_Wings Scratch Square-Enix off that list, buddy. You don't go from a 2-year timed exclusive window for Part 1, to a 3-month exclusive window for Part 2, unless things have drastically changed in that partnership.

And not to Sony's benefit. Rebirth will prob be a launch title for Switch 2 alongside Part 1 port. PC port and Xbox port (the latter also including Part 1) will probably happen over the summer.

And like with Persona, it's PlayStation customers who will be asked to be the paypigs upfront, just to get it a few mere months early. I'm telling you, and you can bookmark this, if Microsoft don't make a purchase of SE, they will become SE's new best friend the way they have with Sega/Atlus.

It's inevitable at this point. Slowly and surely, SIE are losing their close-knit connections with their closest, biggest Japanese partners. And yet some people still want to act like those leaked emails were just "thought experiments". KMA.
 
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It's true that @Eternal_Wings is awfully quiet. What happened? Did you hear bad news 😕

He probably saw what the rest of us saw, and knew that fantasy scenario was done and over with. Between that, the stock dropping, and potential TGS announcements next week for Xbox (that will probably involve more SE ports to some extent), these aren't the kind of things a publisher looking to be acquired by Sony would probably be doing.

But the concerning part IMO is that even the prospects of a strengthened strategic partnership between Sony and Square-Enix is looking very slim going forward. Otherwise I'd think the exclusivity window for Rebirth would be larger than merely three months.
 
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AshHunter216

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He probably saw what the rest of us saw, and knew that fantasy scenario was done and over with. Between that, the stock dropping, and potential TGS announcements next week for Xbox (that will probably involve more SE ports to some extent), these aren't the kind of things a publisher looking to be acquired by Sony would probably be doing.

But the concerning part IMO is that even the prospects of a strengthened strategic partnership between Sony and Square-Enix is looking very slim going forward. Otherwise I'd think the exclusivity window for Rebirth would be larger than merely three months.
I'm personally not convinced about this doomsday scenario of a weaker relationship between Sony and Square. The terms of the deal probably were not made recently at all and likely aren't a product of anything that happened recently given how long ago this game was announced as a PlayStation exclusive. Could just be that Sony didn't want to pay for longer than 3 months after having already paid for FF16 and Forspoken. I'll let Eternal stand up for himself, but I think some of these wrist slitting takes are pretty silly after a pretty decent bit of news and more on the way tomorrow. Maybe I ought to take another break from this forum, lol.
 
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On Demand

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It's true that @Eternal_Wings is awfully quiet. What happened? Did you hear bad news 😕

Read his recent post. He probably got fed up with all the concern and doom posting. It does get annoying at some point.

I’m done for today. Going to go buy me some junk food and watch TV for rest of the night.

And watch the Spider-Man 2 and FF7 trailers again. 🔥
 

Gods&Monsters

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Read his recent post. He probably got fed up with all the concern and doom posting. It does get annoying at some point.

I’m done for today. Going to go buy me some junk food and watch TV for rest of the night.

And watch the Spider-Man 2 and FF7 trailers again. 🔥
People are nervous after what happened with Sega, Beth, ActiBlizz and all the doom articles about Square yesterday.

I'm trying to enjoy the good news but it's always in the back of my mind. I can't help it 🥺
 
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People are nervous after what happened with Sega, Beth, ActiBlizz and all the doom articles about Square yesterday.

I'm trying to enjoy the good news but it's always in the back of my mind. I can't help it 🥺

It's a consistent pattern and not a good one for Sony or PlayStation's optics long-term, in terms of having a stable of content that helps their platform be unique within the market, especially among enthusiasts.

It'd be one thing if we had 1P games coming that could fill in these occurring gaps. For example, some new 1P JRPG for the platform (something that's actually rumored to be the case with Tango Gameworks, BTW) to offset games like Persona and Final Fantasy going full multiplat. But that isn't happening. The 1P selection is heavily focused on Western AAA action-adventure games, and live-service/GaaS content. Knowing the trends in those spaces, that's going to confine the creativity in approaches and styles for those games to some notable measure.

Exclusives, actual exclusives (not three-month timed exclusives or console games also hitting platforms like PC Day 1 where there is heavy customer crossover), matter. They add special value to a platform, and in turn that adds inherent value and prestige to those games. People covet things which have a sense of rarity to them; a game can't really be "rare" in the sense gold, platinum, or diamonds are, so exclusivity is the replacement. Games that aren't exclusive usually don't hold the same value among the enthusiasts or even a lot of the mainstream audiences as exclusive games do. For every one that does, there's a thousand which fail to accomplish it.

That's in addition to the other inherent benefits of exclusives, such as full access to development resources with the platform holders, singular hardware spec to focus optimization on, big marketing and promotion efforts (usually with assistance of the platform holder), and more.
 

Dabaus

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@Eternal_Wings Scratch Square-Enix off that list, buddy. You don't go from a 2-year timed exclusive window for Part 1, to a 3-month exclusive window for Part 2, unless things have drastically changed in that partnership.

And not to Sony's benefit. Rebirth will prob be a launch title for Switch 2 alongside Part 1 port. PC port and Xbox port (the latter also including Part 1) will probably happen over the summer.

And like with Persona, it's PlayStation customers who will be asked to be the paypigs upfront, just to get it a few mere months early. I'm telling you, and you can bookmark this, if Microsoft don't make a purchase of SE, they will become SE's new best friend the way they have with Sega/Atlus.

It's inevitable at this point. Slowly and surely, SIE are losing their close-knit connections with their closest, biggest Japanese partners. And yet some people still want to act like those leaked emails were just "thought experiments". KMA.
Whats even more baffling is every year xbox becomes more and more irrelevant in the greater gaming zeitgeist. They are a laughing stock and under acheiver at every turn and yet its them gaining ground, and sony seemingly losing it. It makes no sense. I just assume behind the scenes microsoft is spending a fortune to pay for ports that otherwise wouldnt exist.

Not only is xbox losing ground markets share wise month over month, even just compared to the xbox one era, but theyve conditioned their audience to not even want to buy games. Their presence in places like Europe is negligible, doubly so in the east and Japan, and yet somehow they continue to get day one ports of games that dont even make the top 50 of games played for xbox. Take Monster Hunter Rise for example, came out on gamepass earlier this year and was out of the top 50 games played on xbox within a week. They literally gave the game away and no one played it.
 
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Whats even more baffling is every year xbox becomes more and more irrelevant in the greater gaming zeitgeist. They are a laughing stock and under acheiver at every turn and yet its them gaining ground, and sony seemingly losing it. It makes no sense. I just assume behind the scenes microsoft is spending a fortune to pay for ports that otherwise wouldnt exist.

That's likely what's happening. The 360 strategy like what they did with FF XIII, but on steroids. Money's no object to a mega-corp like Microsoft (who built that empire on anti-competitive and monopolistic practices, FWIW).

Not only is xbox losing ground markets share wise month over month, even just compared to the xbox one era, but theyve conditioned their audience to not even want to buy games. Their presence in places like Europe is negligible, doubly so in the east and Japan, and yet somehow they continue to get day one ports of games that dont even make the top 50 of games played for xbox. Take Monster Hunter Rise for example, came out on gamepass earlier this year and was out of the top 50 games played on xbox within a week. They literally gave the game away and no one played it.

And if it were any other platform holder who didn't have a near $3 trillion market cap parent company to keep pumping them through failure after failure, we'd see what would logically happen: 3P support drying up for that platform, and the platform holder eventually folding out of the market. This is what we saw happen with Sega, for example.

The fact Xbox as a gaming division can seemingly avoid that logical conclusion of a reality, and get by off the money and success of other, healthier divisions in the same parent company, should've been immediate grounds for regulators to take actual pause (not theatrical pause) with the ABK acquisition. But they let that moment pass by. Now you have parrots in the media parroting that, suddenly, consolidation is "inevitable", even when we see the results of mediocre consolidation like what's happening with Embracer Group.

But these people are only saying it because in their heart of hearts, they know the only company big enough and seedy enough to have wormed their way into positions to get approval for this type of consolidation at a wider scale, is Microsoft. Were it any other company, you'd see them being rampant, bringing up the many shortcomings and consequences of consolidation.

I think I'm at a point of just "being done" with having interest in where this industry heads, going forward. I'll be the quiet hermit and play games I feel are worth my time, in private, when I have time to play them. These companies are making their own beds, and there's not much else more to say.
 
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Eternal_Wings

Eternal_Wings

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Say what you want. I am still convinced that Sony can’t afford not to acquire Square Enix.
Rebirth caused so much hype across the internet, which only Spiderman has managed to do. I do still think that COVID-19 and the fight over Activision Blizzard caused many delays. In 2024 Sony will definitely acquire them. Just a reminder: “Whenever possible” this not how a independent company sounds or speaks.
I also don’t care if the exclusivity is window is only 3 months. Remember Sony extended it for another whole year for FF7R. This is also possible. And people saying after the exclusivity expires there will be ports for Xbox and Switch 2 lmao. There is no indication that it will happen. And we also don’t know if Switch 2 will be powerful enough, it’s only a rumour from Reset Era. Sounds a lot like cope of Nintendo fans. A Handheld with PS4 Pro or Steam Deck specs would cost 500.00 to 600.00. Nintendo can’t afford to be over 400.00. Power and graphics are not Nintendo’s audience. They failed twice: N64 and NGC. They won’t repeat it. Imma saying just once: Switch 2 will be close to Standard PS4. Home console are more efficient then a handheld. Powerful handhelds are expensive to produce.
 

ksdixon

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If you think Switch 2 will be close to base PS4 when Nintendo work with now cheaper older tech, then Sony if wanted to must be able to do at least the same if not a lot more for a theoretical PS4P? (Even I don't think PS5 level Portable is doable)
 

Yurinka

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Say what you want. I am still convinced that Sony can’t afford not to acquire Square Enix.
If Sony would want to buy and Square would want to sell, they have the money to do so. But Sony decided to pause the acquisitions (at least the big ones) for various reasons during a few years.

Also, if regulators have been very aggresive with Microsoft they could be way more aggresive with Sony since Sony is a clear market leader in multiple gaming markets as consoles or game subscriptions.

Square Enix also has multiple business where Sony isn't interested, so Sony may not be interested on acquiring it. In addition to this, to sell would mean to potentially reduce SE business since it would imply to maybe have more exclusives and to avoid moneyhats or deals with MS and Nintendo, and maybe also to kill some SE business. So Square Enix may not be interested to sell.

Something that is more likely and realistic is that Square Enix could branch out some studios as joint venture subsidiary companies co-owned by people like Sony (plus who know if also other ones like Tencent or even Nintendo), securing certain deals with Sony but still allowing them to be multi.

I'm personally not convinced about this doomsday scenario of a weaker relationship between Sony and Square.
Big PS exclusives like FFVIIR, FFXIV, FFXVI, FFVII Rebirth, plus also other minor ones like Foamstars or Forspoken also being exclusive, plus also many like Live a Live, Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters, Octopath Traveller 2, Romancing Saga, Tactics Ogre Reborn who aren't on Xbox...

That 'weaker relationship' narrative is total bullshit that goes against the facts. Their relationship is better than ever.
 
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That 'weaker relationship' narrative is total bullshit that goes against the facts. Their relationship is better than ever.

FF VII Remake Part 1: 1-year timed exclusivity, extended to 2+ years

FF VII Remake Part 2 (Rebirth): 3-month timed exclusivity, likely no extension.

Dunno chief, looks like something has altered there for me. Depends on if that was up to Sony or Square-Enix. IMO, 3-month exclusivity might as well be Day 1 across all viable platforms. It's a timed window that makes as much sense as the 3-month one for STALKER 2 :/

Also we don't know if games like Foamstars are getting Switch 2 ports or not. There's a good chance that, VII Remake, and stuff like the rumored FF IX remake get Switch 2 versions at or close to launch on PS5.
 

Yurinka

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FF VII Remake Part 1: 1-year timed exclusivity, extended to 2+ years

FF VII Remake Part 2 (Rebirth): 3-month timed exclusivity, likely no extension.

Dunno chief, looks like something has altered there for me. Depends on if that was up to Sony or Square-Enix. IMO, 3-month exclusivity might as well be Day 1 across all viable platforms. It's a timed window that makes as much sense as the 3-month one for STALKER 2 :/

First, we have to see if FFVII Rebirth gets announced for other platforms (very likely) or not.

Second, we have to see if FVII Rebirth gets announced for other platfoms which are these platforms (could be only PC).

Third, we have to see when it's going to see released in that other platform(s). The sentence said "not available on other platforms at least until 05/29/2024".

That doesn't mean that the game will be released in other platforms and doesn't mean that it will be released in other platforms on 05/30/2024.

And well, even if they plan to release FFVII Rebirth 05/30/2024 on Xbox, PC and Switch 2 (which I think won't happen), that wouldn't mean that the exclusivity reduction would be due to a bad relationship with Sony. Pretty likely would only mean that SE decided that for them is better to have a shorter exclusivity would benefit their own business, and/or Sony considered that for their own business wasn't worth it to pay for the sequel an exclusivity as long as the first one.

Also we don't know if games like Foamstars are getting Switch 2 ports or not. There's a good chance that, VII Remake, and stuff like the rumored FF IX remake get Switch 2 versions at or close to launch on PS5.
As of now Foamstar has only been announced for PS.
 
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First, we have to see if FFVII Rebirth gets announced for other platforms (very likely) or not.

SE probably learned their lesson from the botched initial XVI trailers and aren't specifically announcing a PC port coming months later in the very first line of PS5 adverts. Which, IMO, damaged a decent chunk of potential XVI sales on PS5. Showing that, in fact, there is notable amount of customer crossover between console and PC when it comes to these AAA games these days, and that the two platforms do in fact have some degree of competition with each other in gamer's time and money.

But I digress...

Second, we have to see if FVII Rebirth gets announced for other platfoms which are these platforms (could be only PC).

Doesn't matter; as I was illustrating above, even PC/Steam is a competitive platform for consoles like PlayStation, due to crossover between enthusiasts (hardcore, core) customers in those spaces for modern AAA games. FF XVI is probably a pretty good indicator of this theory bearing out as true; had there not been mention of a PC version coming "mere months" after PS5 in the first wave of adverts for the game on PS5, I posit that the game's sales would've been better.

And that is not to say they are even bad, but SE seemed to have even higher expectations in some upper target which were not met. They would have met that target if they hadn't been going on talking about a PC version before the PS5 version of the game even launched.

Third, we have to see when it's going to see released in that other platform(s). The sentence said "not available on other platforms at least until 05/29/2024".

The point is, the stated time is shorter than for XVI, which was shorter than for VII Remake Part 1. It's a downward trend, that's what I've noticed.

That doesn't mean that the game will be released in other platforms and doesn't mean that it will be released in other platforms on 05/30/2024.

Yes, that's true. But it does mean that it's going to come to SOME other platform after that date. It could be one, it could be multiple. It could be PC, it could be Xbox, it could be Switch 2, it could be all three.

All we really can discern from the exclusivity window is that either SE have heightened agency to get the game on more platforms sooner to hit sales targets, or Sony have decreased agency in locking in big FF games to their platforms in a coveted sense. But considering Sony were saying they want people to think of PS when they think of the home of FF, reducing the exclusivity window on their part doesn't make sense to me.

And well, even if they plan to release FFVII Rebirth 05/30/2024 on Xbox, PC and Switch 2 (which I think won't happen), that wouldn't mean that the exclusivity reduction would be due to a bad relationship with Sony. Pretty likely would only mean that SE decided that for them is better to have a shorter exclusivity would benefit their own business, and/or Sony considered that for their own business wasn't worth it to pay for the sequel an exclusivity as long as the first one.

Yes, which is the CONCERING part we are talking about here! Why would the partnership have weakened? Well, we have seen Mascot Spencer™ out here squeezing his way into that SE/Sony dynamic. We know he has a ton of money to throw around thanks to magnitudes more successful divisions at Microsoft ponying up the cash. We know that he and the other higher-ups at Xbox have a desire to "spend Sony out of business". We know that would involve a mix of targeted acquisitions and strategic partnerships. We know that would involve trying to weaken Sony's ties to their closest, strongest 3P partners, especially in Japan. We have already SEEN them accomplish this to a very notable degree with Sega/Atlus. We are WORRIED that they are trying to do the same with Square-Enix. And we KNOW they have these intentions because of the leaked emails from the FTC hearings over the summer.

Do you see what I mean when I say you aren't looking at the forest from the trees? You have got to start actually tying motives and probabilities together. These are coordinated efforts on the part of a company like Microsoft. And, I do not necessarily blame them for trying to get better business going with other game companies, that's what they are supposed to be doing. The blame would fall on Sony for letting things play out this way, by being too slow to, say, acquire a company like SE when the conditions were favorable on both ends to make that happen. Or making a big move for share purchases and general investments into the company, even amid the changing of their old CEO to the new CEO.

The onus would fall on Sony for this happening, but you seem more interested in finding a way to spin that into "Well, that's actually not bad for Sony at all. Just look at the fiscal results this quarter! Microsoft could buy Square-Enix all they like, it won't change anything!", or something thereof. What makes it an additional slap to the face, is that in losing grip on strong hold of these big 3P games (particularly Japanese ones) that PlayStation had in the past, they have nothing of equivalent cooking internally to serve as replacements to provide value (via stronger & true exclusivity) to their console.

And yes, you need that, and in great variety of genre types (at least, that should be the goal) in order to move consoles long-term at a high clip. If it wasn't important, companies like Nintendo would be doing what Microsoft did (in gradually devaluing the console itself) 7 years ago. Something Sony, IMO, is stupidly slipping into doing themselves increasingly so, but not even in a way that at least sets healthy cadence to stem any potential bleed as best as possible.

As of now Foamstar has only been announced for PS.

Yeah, for now. But consider this: it's a live-service/GaaS title. If we're going to say that Sony, for example, are well-off bringing their live-service/GaaS titles to PC with short interval windows or even Day 1, and certain titles (like MLB) to other console platforms Day 1 since those all boost player metrics...why would Square-Enix not be considering the same?

You don't think Square-Enix are salivating at the prospect of selling a game like Foamstars on a platform that has Splatoon on it? Foamstars is coming to PS4 as well, after all, so it probably won't require a lot of effort to get that adjusted for the Switch 2. If they have plans for the game on Switch 2, it's simply too early to announce anything.
 

Yurinka

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SE probably learned their lesson from the botched initial XVI trailers and aren't specifically announcing a PC port coming months later in the very first line of PS5 adverts. Which, IMO, damaged a decent chunk of potential XVI sales on PS5. Showing that, in fact, there is notable amount of customer crossover between console and PC when it comes to these AAA games these days, and that the two platforms do in fact have some degree of competition with each other in gamer's time and money.

But I digress...
We have very little hard numbers from FFXVI performance, but all the ones we have are very good. This one isn't representative of global performance because it's only Spain and only retail, but shows it as the 3rd best selling PS5 game in one of the main PS markets:


FF XVI is probably a pretty good indicator of this theory bearing out as true; had there not been mention of a PC version coming "mere months" after PS5 in the first wave of adverts for the game on PS5, I posit that the game's sales would've been better.
Comparing the PS5 installbase had at FFXVI launch vs the installbase of the FFVIIR and FFXV platforms had at their launch FFXVI did a better performance.

And that is not to say they are even bad, but SE seemed to have even higher expectations in some upper target which were not met. They would have met that target if they hadn't been going on talking about a PC version before the PS5 version of the game even launched.
FFXVI did a great job, but Square Enix in several other games was too optimistic and even unrealistic on their estimates. Also, we don't know by how much did they fail achieving their projection, maybe the result they got was pretty close.

Yes, which is the CONCERING part we are talking about here! Why would the partnership have weakened? Well, we have seen Mascot Spencer™ out here squeezing his way into that SE/Sony dynamic.
I think isn't concerning at all, probably Sony prefered to get less months and spend that money to get more 3rd party exclusives (as could be SE other ones), or maybe SE considered that they'd make more money with shorter timed exclusives.

Sony still has a lot of SE exclusives, plus many other games that are on PS+Switch but not XB. MS doesn't have any exclusive, misses many SE games and some other ones have to wait after the PS release.

We have already SEEN them accomplish this to a very notable degree with Sega/Atlus.
Sega (which includes Atlus) mentioned clearly that they were going to focus more on multiplatform, game subscriptions, worldide releases and better localization to increase their revenue. So it has nothing to do with Sony or MS, it's just Sega wanting to make more money. That means Sony will lose some exclusives, but also means that Sony will get games/series that were exclusive elsewhere.

Do you see what I mean when I say you aren't looking at the forest from the trees?
What I see is that PS has more exclusives than ever and has more games from 3rd parties like Square Enix, ARC System Works, Capcom or Sega than Nintendo or MS.

The difference is that in the past they were focused on a few companies and now they also have exclusives for VR, or bet harder on indie games Kena or Sifu, and also work with additional teams like former top devs like Bungie or Quantic Dreams (Firewalk, Stray) or other ones like Koei Tecmo for 2nd party (Rise of the Ronin) and also bet on new markets (Hoyoverse, Stellar Blade, China & India Hero Project initiatives, etc).

For 3rd parties and indies is better to sell their games on more platforms because this means they make more games. So prefer console exclusives over total exclusives and prefer timed exclusives over complete exclusives. As their budgets grow their need for additional revenue so to go multi also grow. They also prefer to keep the IPs for themselves.

For Sony it's also positive because these exclusivities are cheaper, meaning that with the same budget for 3rd party exclusivities if they sign on timed console exclusivities they can sign way more exclusivities than if they focus con full 3rd party exclusives. And looking at sales, the PR/marketing impact of both exclusivity types is pretty much the same, or maybe even the new strategy works best for them because they keep breaking related records.

But consider this: it's a live-service/GaaS title.
Most top performing games in consoles, PC and mobile are GaaS, yes. And the majority of the game revenue comes from GaaS/add-ons and that percentage keeps growing. Plus the increasing budgets demand additional revenue source and to go GaaS did work for a lot of cases. This is the reason of why top publishers are betting harder on GaaS.

In the case of Sony, they did an extra GaaS push because compared to the other top publishers they had very little GaaS top success and they didn't want to keep outdated in a few years in the future once GaaS will almost completely dominate the AAA market.
 
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JohnnyLove

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Sony will not make significant acquisitions until the ActiBlizz story is over. After that we will see SE, FS or whatever, no doubt about it