Lately there’s been an explosion of articles entitled “10 Studios Sony Should Acquire” and “5 Studios Microsoft Should Buy”—but this isn’t the right path in the quest for exclusives. Actually, owning too many could become counterproductive. Here’s the direction Sony and Microsoft should be heading in.
[quote]One studio that makes dozens of games, instead of dozens of studios that only make one game… every two years.[/quote]
This is the correct thing to do, instead of buying studios they should focus on building one that can handle all their first party games. Obviously this studio would be considerably larger than the current ones. It would make sense to divide it into 3-4 parts across the world. Here’s how it would go, Sony L.A., Sony Tokyo, Sony UK, etc. (the same goes for Microsoft).
Running one studio would be easier to manage than 15, and it would be more cost-effective. The heads of the company wouldn’t have to worry about flying everywhere, just to see if a studio is sticking to their schedule. Communication would be more seamless and if a problem occurs it’ll be easier to solve (this could cut down on the number of game delays).
Another benefit of one large studio is—one failed game won’t sink the company. This is common in gaming, a developer will make a game that underperforms (or spends too much time in development) and their parent company will shut them down. Since the success of the studio won’t be riding on one game they can take more risks, this translates to more innovation and less generic games.
With that being said, Sony & Microsoft could still work with second parties. Once the original developer is done with the franchise they can hand it over to their first party studio. Owning the IP is what’s important, and they can always offer a job to individual developers that played a major role in the creation of the IP.
Buying studios is the wrong strategy for Sony, and one Microsoft shouldn’t adopt. I’d be lying if I said the Xbox 360 didn’t need more exclusives (I don’t care for Halo, and Gears is starting to bore me). Still, building or merging existing studios makes more sense than going out and acquiring 10.
I’ll end with this; imagine if Sony merged all their studios. Each team would bring something unique to the table. If Naughty Dog, Media Molecule, Polyphony Digital, Team Ico, and all the other studios were collaborating on one project, it would be a recipe for success… or disaster.