Last Week In PlayStation #4 | Sony May Buy Square Enix, Bungie Acquisition Under Investigation, And PS5 Stock Issues Set To Continue
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Publishing every Monday evening India time (early evening Central European time and late morning Pacific time), the series will round up all of last week's PlayStation news and other happenings into one single article.
This edition will cover all PlayStation news from the 2nd of May '2022 to the 8th of May '2022.
After a few weeks absent of any big PlayStation news, I expected something major to trickle out of San Mateo HQ this week. But, alas, we have to wait a bit longer for the coveted State of Play/Summer Showcase announcement, or even my personal most anticipated piece of news - the new PS Plus game catalogue. There are only two weeks left until the revamped service launches, so let's see that game list, aye Jim Ryan?
Nevertheless, there is still some PlayStation news to go through this Monday. Here is what happened in the world of PlayStation last week.
Sony Allegedly Looking To Purchase Japanese Publisher Square Enix
If you've never heard of Embracer Group, I wrote an article about their meteoric rise from a small video game retailer to a global publishing powerhouse. Feel free to check it out.
In the talk of Sony acquiring a massive publisher, Square Enix is a name that was always thrown around. Well, it looks like there was some substance to the speculation.
PushSquare reports that speaking on his PS I Love You podcast, industry veteran Greg Miller said, "I heard that PlayStation was acquiring Square and I heard that from multiple different sources".
PushSquare also points out that Miller warns to 'take everything with a grain of salt', as it is possible what he heard were actually rumours about Square Enix selling their western studios. Miller reiterates his first statement about Sony buying Square Enix, however, by saying: "That is what I’d heard, though, that PlayStation was trying to buy Square".
These rumblings come after another industry journalist - the ever-reliable Jeff Grubb - pointed out that 'Sony acquiring Square was the big rumour'. In his tweet, he goes on to say, "we never really hear enough to report on acquisitions with any certainty" and therefore he can not confirm that this rumour is true.
That's the thing with acquisitions of this size and scale. Not many people at either company (the buyer or seller) know that a deal is taking place, and whoever does know is restricted by strict NDAs. Not many would risk sharing such sensitive information that can get them into legal trouble.
Even assuming Sony is looking to buy Square Enix, this recent sale of the publisher's western assets brings up a few questions.
Was Sony looking to purchase the entirety of Square Enix, or only one of either its western or Japanese operations? If they were going for the whole package, are they still in the race now that the western side is gone? Was simply buying the Japanese half of the company their goal all along? Will they even pull the trigger and buy what remains of Square Enix?
Unless Sony goes ahead and announces an acquisition of Square Enix, we may never know whether there was any substance to these rumours. All we know for sure is that the rumour exists, and multiple journalists have heard information about it.
Sony has said multiple times that they are looking to make more acquisitions moving forward, even hiring for a Director of Corporate Development to 'identify inorganic growth opportunities through acquisitions, investments or joint ventures'. Keep an eye on this space moving forward.
Bungie Acquisition Under Investigation By The Federal Trade Commission
Website The Information reports that 'according to people familiar with the matter, the FTC has opened an in-depth investigation of Sony’s proposed $3.6 billion takeover of Bungie'. The report also notes that 'while the FTC may not be able to block the deal, its decision to review it is the latest example of how aggressive the agency is becoming in reviewing mergers'.
The rest of the report is behind a paywall, so I'll be using Eurogamer's article on the story.
This investigation by the FTC 'may reportedly set the closing date of this deal back by six months'. Eurogamer notes that 'the FTC has reportedly voiced concerns that Bungie's future games may become Sony platform exclusives'. However, Bungie has previously come out and said that their games will remain multiplatform.
It should be noted, however, that such investigations are routine for business deals of this size and scale. And while this investigation will take place, and may even delay the deal closing by a bit, it is unlikely that Sony's acquisition of Bungie will be blocked.
PS5 Stock Issues Set To Continue Into 2024 Amid Continued Chip Shortages
Last week, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger revealed some details about the ongoing semiconductor shortages.
Speaking to CNBC, he revealed that the semiconductor industry expects 'to suffer supply shortages until 2024'. Gelsinger goes on to explain that 'the global chip crunch may drag on due to constrained availability of key manufacturing tools'.
Intel earlier estimated the semiconductor shortages to end in 2023, but have now moved their estimate a year forward. Gelsinger also notes that 'shortages have now hit equipment' which means the assembly line will be put under strain.
This spells bad news for the console manufacturers, as the already constrained supplies for PS5s and Xbox Series consoles aren't going to get any better. The PS5 has been impacted considerably more than its Xbox counterpart, as Sony struggles to manufacture enough consoles to meet the already high demand.
PS5 stock has been frustratingly hard to come by for many, ever since the console launched back in November 2020. Sadly, it doesn't look like the situation is going to get any better.
What we can discuss, however, is what this means for the inevitable PS5 Slim and Pro models. On one hand, the introduction of these new models would mean resources would have to be taken away from the base PS5 manufacturing chains.
But these updated models usually contain either different spec components or a lower number of the same components, meaning new models could yield a greater overall number of consoles manufactured.
These new models will have to eventually be put on the market, so it is up to Sony to decide whether to see out the semiconductor shortage or begin manufacturing as soon as possible in an attempt to satisfy demand.
Other Bits And Pieces:
- In the lead up to the launch of the all-new PS Plus service at the end of May, which will see PS Plus and Now merged into one, Sony has announced the final selection of games being added to the PS Now catalogue. While nothing great, it includes licensed anime title Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, fighting game Soulcalibur V, and indie 2D-Metroidvania Blasphemous. All three are PS4 games but can be played on PS5 as well through backwards compatibility.
- PushSquare reports that a variety of updates have landed on first-party games over the last week. Media Molecules' Dreams receives update 2.44, which brings improvements to Create mode including a time & date gadget, filters for various colourblindness levels, and many more. Housemarque's Returnal sees update 3.03, which balances difficulty in the Tower of Sisyphus, alongside other bug fixes. And finally, Horizon Forbidden West's update 1.13 brings a lofty list of bug fixes and general improvements to game performance.