According to a new rumor, Sony will soon acquire a studio “bigger” than Death Stranding developer Kojima Productions.
This claim was made by video game journalist Jeff Grubb, a frequent source of behind-the-scenes information who most recently accurately leaked the reveal of Street Fighter 6, during the recent 42nd episode of his GrubbSnax podcast.
Addressing the rumors that Sony is looking to expand their operations in the face of Microsoft’s January acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Grubb told viewers (00:08:30), “I mean if you’ve heard the rumors about a big acquisition from Sony, it was never Kojima productions.”
“At least not as far as I’m aware,” he added, before teasing, “Like the people that were hearing this stuff – including me – that was not a name that was thrown around. It was bigger than Kojima Productions.”
An independent studio operating under the direction of Metal Gear creator and company namesake Hideo Kojima, Kojima Productions recently became a popular guess for Sony’s upcoming acquisition after Death Stranding was added to a banner graphic promoting PlayStation Studio.
However, after feeding the rumor mill himself by sharing the image from his personal Twitter account, Kojima denied these rumors.
“I’m sorry for the misunderstanding,” the esteemed creator tweeted on April 15th. “KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS has been and will continue to be an independent studio.”
Though Grubb provided no further details as to the identity of Sony’s rumored buyout target, fan speculation ran wild near immediately after his show aired and saw a who’s who of major studios being proposed as possible candidates, including Bandai Namco, Konami, Square Enix, and even Sega.
Others even expanded their guesses outside the realm of video games, throwing out other industrial titans like holding company Embracer Group and Japanese media corporation Kadokawa.
One particular name that kept popping up in the discussion was FromSoftware, the developers behind Elden Ring, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and more.
This particular theory was further fanned on by a misinterpretation of a thread discussing the potential authored by the CEO of video game industry consultancy firm Kantan Games, Dr. Serkan Toto.
Taking to Twitter on April 18th, Dr. Toto wrote, “One of my favorite studios, Tokyo-based FromSoftware, is currently rumored to be an M&A [Mergers and Acquisitions] candidate for Sony” before turning to provide “a quick run-down of its weird background feat. pigs, right-wing newspapers, Toyota and the metaverse. And their early valuation.”
Delving briefly into FromSoftware’s history, Dr. Toto recounted how the studio originated as a software developer who created such business-to-business software as a “pig-feeding management” program before making their debut as a game developer in 1994 with their first game, King’s Field.
Unfortunately, FromSoftware’s first major joint business venture, dubbed Co-Core and undertaken alongside the transcosmos IT company and the Sankei Shimbun newspaper, turned out to be a failed attempt to create a virtual recreation of Tokyo for users to interact in – essentially, a Metaverse.
Following the failure of this project, transcosmos expanded upon a previously established stake in FromSoftware to purchase it outright and bring it in as a subsidiary under its larger corporate umbrella.
In another stroke of bad luck, transcosmos practically refused to acknowledge that the studio existed, leading to FromSoftware existing without solid direction and support for years.
Then, In 2014, Kadokawa acquired 80% of FromSoftware transcosmos for a “heart [bleeding]” total of “the equivalent of US$22.5 million today.”
“So in 2014, From’s valuation was well below US$30 million,” he added. “The devil is in the details, but the price was very likely a total joke back then already.”
“One month after the transcosmos deal, Kadokawa was clever enough to fully take over From,” Dr. Toto concluded his insight into FromSoftware’s buyout-and-acquisition riddled past. “At that time in 2014, one transcosmos director was Japanese mobile industry pioneer Takeshi Natsuno – who became Kadokawa president in 2021 and by rank oversees From today.”
Yet, much to Dr. Toto’s dismay, he soon found that some fans had misinterpreted his above discussion of FromSoftware’s ownership history as confirmation that an acquisition from Sony was imminent.
“Some people are getting mad at me because they think this thread on FromSoftware suggests I predict Sony will indeed buy them,” he tweeted in reply to said fans. “Amazing psychology or just lack of reading skills? Twitter is colossally entertaining.”
Sony’s prior purchases have included Housemarque and Bungie.
Who do you suspect is Sony’s major buyout? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.