In 2021, the video game industry began to actively shop. Throughout the year, several large companies consistently bought up many smaller companies, with new acquisitions announced every few weeks.
Of course, all this faded into the shadow of the big one: in March approved regulatory bodies Microsoft’s $ 7.5 billion purchase of Zenimax (Bethesda’s parent company) formalizes superpower consolidation in game development through an ever-expanding organizational schedule for Xbox Studios… But 2021 was additionally peppered with a bunch of sub-10-figure acquisitions, some of which were sensational. Here are the most important ones.
Netflix buys Night School Studio
Well, it didn’t take long. In May, reports circulated that Netflix was looking to recruit an executive tasked with driving the streaming giant’s foray into video games, which began with experiments such as Black Mirror: Bandersnatch… Two months later Netflix hired Mike Verdu (formerly EA and Oculus). And then, in September, he bought a night school studio, an independent group best known for Oxenfree… This duo makes sense: Night School creates atmospheric choice-based games, and Netflix has dabbled in the past with things about choosing their own adventure packaged as a prestigious TV special. Netflix has released successful adaptations over the past few years DotA, Castlevania, and League of Legends… And then there is Oxenfree TV show (originally conceived as a film), revealed in January… The network for the series has yet to be announced, but come on.
Read more: Netflix video game service says it all right
The developer says that production at Oxenfree II, which will be her first game released under this new arrangement, will not be affected by the acquisition and is still on track for release next year. This won’t be Netflix’s first game, however. In November, Netflix Adds Five Video Games To Its Streaming Offerings, including two previously released (and so far received) adaptations Very strange things…
Epic buys Mediatonic
In March, Epic Games acquired Mediatonic, the studio behind the incredibly popular royal platformer of 2020, Fall guys… At the time, Mediatonic was planning to release Fall guys on Xbox and Switch. This has since been pushed back to 2022 and the game is still only available on PlayStation and PC. Moreover, today Fall guys still hasn’t landed in the metaverse of his new master, Fortnite, although data miners claim such a crossover is inevitable.
The Mediatonic acquisition is just the latest example of Epic’s ambition to dominate the metaverse of party games. In 2019 he bought Psyonix, developer Rocket league, a car soccer sports game about listening to extremely catchy EDM earworms. A year and one billion crossovers later Epic removed Rocket league from Steam availability. Presently, Fall guys still available on the Valve showcase.
Epic buys Harmonix
Mediatonic wasn’t Epic’s only major acquisition in 2021. Last month Epic acquired Harmonix, creators Rock bandto design “musical travel and gameplay” for Fortnite… During the pandemic, various popular musicians performed digitally-only concerts in Fortnite for big stars like Ariana Grande; it’s not immediately clear whether Harmonix will work on similar experiences or create things more akin to the rhythm games for which the studio made its name. Either way, Harmonix says it will keep its back catalog on Steam, despite Epic having its own showcase for competing PCs.
Nintendo Buys The Next Level
It’s not often that Nintendo immediately buys game development studios, but the company started the year with official acquisition of Next Level GamesVancouver-based manufacturers Luigi’s Mansion 3… The studio previously developed games for the 3DS. Metroid Prime: Federation Force and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, both of which received praise from Kotakureviewers.
Sony buys Housemarque
Honestly, if you asked me to chill at any point earlier this year, I would assume Housemarque is Sony’s first studio. Since 2012, only one game from the Finnish studio (Nex machina) was released on a platform other than PlayStation (PC). But only in June, after the sensational April release Return on PlayStation 5 this Sony has officially recruited Housemarque as a third party studio.
Sony buys Bluepoint Games
Everyone foresaw this, as the news was accidentally tweeted three months earlier, but in September Sony bought Bluepoint Games… Best known for creating flashy remakes of popular games such as Demon Souls and Shadow of the colossusBluepoint is currently working on the original games, studio head Marco Thrush said IGN…
Fuck Sony is buying everybody
In July, Sony acquired Nixxes, a studio known for working on ports of popular PC games. (Over the past few years, Sony has started publishing its biggest games to PC.) This was followed in September by publishing purchase Run, Sackboy! Run! developer Firesprite… This month only Sony bought Valkyrie Entertainment, a Seattle-based company that primarily worked as a support studio for AAA games, including the upcoming God of War Ragnarok… And on top of that, back in March Sony bought Evo, a fighting game tournament, in partnership with Endeavor. No, technically not a development studio, but still a game-related acquisition, “damn it.”
Tencent buys Turtle Rock
Tencent has continued to promote its games with the release of December purchase of Turtle Rock Studiosjust released Back 4 Blood, a trendy multiplayer shooter from a zombie developer. Turtle Rock was the sixth largest purchase for the multinational conglomerate, after a major investment in Klei Entertainment (known Not to starve), Jager (Special Operations: Line), and Stun (Battlerite). In 2021, Tencent also completely bought Sumo Group and Fatshark, Swedish indie studio.
Embracer buys gearbox
In February, Embracer Group – the mega-corporation that owns THQ Nordic and Koch Media –bought a checkpoint, developer Borderlands and a publisher of games like Godfall and Tribes of Midgard… 2K, longtime publisher Borderlands, says this merger won’t affect future games in this ever-insane co-op shooter series. Inspired by fantasy spin-offs, Tiny Tina’s Wonderland, slated for release next March.
Embracer buys Aspyr
On the same day, Embracer bought Gearbox, he also raised Aspyr, the company best known for bringing games to various devices. Aspyr is currently working on a 2004 RPG remake. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, slated for release on PC and PS5…
Take-Two buys Roll7
Take-Two Interactive is best known for publishing megawatt hits in big car theft, Red dead redemption, and NBA 2K franchises, in addition to games in relatively small, but still blockbusters Borderlands and BioShock row. But the New York-based company is dabbling in lighter food with its Private Division label. In November, Take-Two bought Roll7 (developers OllieOllie skateboarding) and placed it under the remit of the Private Division. Ollie’s worldOllie slated for release in February.