At the end of January 2022, it’s extremely hard to know what might come next in terms of news. Across three acquisitions of note, Sony with Bungie, Take-Two with Zynga and Microsoft’s deal to snap up Activision Blizzard, the total spend stands at about $85 billion assuming that they are all completed. Welcome, to the Console Developer Arms Race of 2022.
This is an arms race that no one seems to be able to predict as all of the above were only really advised in the news as the companies confirmed their purchase intentions. News sites and social media are awash with rumours of what could come next, but I don’t remember seeing anyone leaking these deals in advance.
That being said take anything you read about an acquisition rumour with a grain of salt, but there is no doubt that there will be more announcements over the next few years. It’s also generally expected that both Amazon and Google will look to take major strides into the gaming market, with Microsoft even advising that they are the company they are really competing against.
Some have even noted that Apple might look to compete in one of the biggest expanding markets in the world today. This could lead to them looking to nail done companies with development experience to entice gamers to their system.
So et’s take a look at who could get snapped up next and the games that could make any purchase worthwhile.
The Arms Race: Take Two
This is arguably the biggest that could happen, but for many reasons, I can’t see it coming to fruition. Any buyout would be for a huge value that I’m not even going to take a guess at what this could be.
When you have titles like Grand Theft Auto in your pocket, the selling power there is almost unlimited. Case in point GTA 5. In 2022 the game will release for the PS5 and Xbox Series consoles and this will be the 3rd generation of systems that it will be available on.
Its current sales stand at an eye-watering 155 million as of late 2021.
Take-Two also has several other games like the 2K basketball series and Bioshock that also tend to sell extremely well. Therefore mark this one as unlikely….but not impossible. Any company would be happy to have the selling power of GTA under their belt even when it tends to come with a boatload of controversy at the same time.
The Arms Race: Electronic Arts Inc (EA)
Although they are hated by a large number of the gaming community, EA is still one of the biggest compies around. With games like FIFA and Madden, they have titles that sell millions every year (even when they haven’t changed very much).
Their sports games and extensive back catalogue of titles could be used to convince players to buy a console, in the casual player base at least. I’ve always thought it would be more likely that Microsoft would look into this purchase due to their seemly good relationship with EA and ties to Gamepass. However, if Sony snapping up Bungie doesn’t show you that anything can happen in gaming, then I have no idea what might.
The issue with this one might cost. Should EA be acquired it would be a large purchase and I don’t see Microsft able to take something like this on, at least until their Activision deal is finalised. Sony could probably take it on, but it seems a little off for their normal style with of buying one studio at a time.
Could Mass Effect, Titanfall and FIFA go console exclusive? Only time will tell but expect this to be rumoured a lot over the next few years.
The Arms Race: Ubisoft
Another company that always seems to pop up when rumours are spread online. They also have similarities to EA in that gamers aren’t always fans of their products and services but games like Assasins Creed and FarCry continue to sell in their numerous sequels and expansions.
Tying down franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, For Honor, Just Dance, Prince of Persia, Rabbids, Rayman, Tom Clancy’s, and Watch Dogs would be understandable for any company looking to take hold of the gaming market.
Not only this, similar to the internal issues at Activision Blizzard, a reset might work well in the companies future and move them away from the sexual misconduct accusations and dismissals that were noted in the news in 2020.
Once again I think the biggest issue with this one would be the cost. Any acquisition would likely be upwards of $10 billion (current market value is noted to be about $7 billion). Once again Microsoft seems to have good connections with Ubisoft and there have been rumours that their subscription service Ubisoft+ might get rolled into Gampass for the last year or so but don’t rule anyone out of looking into buying them up.
The Arms Race: Konami, Square Enix or Capcom
Consider this as my usual cheat that I tend to include in most of my articles. Three big companies rolled into one. I’ve done this due to their comparable size and likely cost with any of the above-having market values of between $5 and $7 billion. Although a sale would likely cost much more than their current value.
I’d say that all 3 of the above have bigger links to PlayStation than Xbox due to titles like Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy having history on their consoles. All of the above companies would give a buyer access to a large number of properties that could help them secure future console sales.
Although Playstation appears to have stronger ties to them, I’d say that Microsoft should be more eager to look into their purchase and they could all help them expand in Japan where they have always struggled to be relevant.
As I’ve noted earlier, recent purchases seem to suggest that no company is off-limits. FromSoftware, CD Projekt, Sega and Kojima Productions are all others that might be of interest to the buyers looking to tie down developers to their systems.
2022 is set to be wild in gaming news and I wouldn’t be surprised if the next announcement knocks our socks off once again, as the big companies join The Arms Race.