PlayStation logoSource: Sony Interactive Entertainment

What you need to know

  • Sony's taste in big-budget exclusives is causing unrest within its internal studios, according to a report by Bloomberg.
  • According to reports, Sony has repeatedly turned down new projects from smaller internal teams, and reroutes them to assist bigger studios with Sony's portfolio.
  • Sony recently closed down its Japan Studio, stating that they are no longer interested in small games that were only successful in Japan.

It seems that Sony's obsession with big-budget, blockbuster titles is stirring unrest within the company, according to a report by Bloomberg.

According to the Bloomberg report, Sony's conservative approach to making games for the PS5 has caused tension between internal studios, and their focus on exclusive blockbusters has come at the expense of smaller teams and studios within the PlayStation organization, leading to a high number of turnovers.

Michael Mumbauer, who founded Sony's Visual Arts Service Group in 2007, recruited about 30 developers and approached Sony with the idea to expand on the company's most successful franchises, and began work on remaking 2013's The Last of Us for the PlayStation 5. The San Diego-based team is best known for assisting other Sony-owned studios with animation, art, and other content.

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Sony, however, never acknowledged the team or gave them full funding or support, and when they saw progress being made on the remake, they moved ownership back to Naughty Dog, the game's original developer. The team then quickly disbanded, with many leaving the company entirely.

PlayStation's focus on large-scale games also seems to have created unrest across their other, more established game studios. The Bloomberg report claims that Sony Bend, the developers of Days Gone, pitched a sequel to the game in 2019 but were turned down, citing lengthy development time and a mixed critical reception, despite the game being profitable.

Instead, Sony began to take teams from Sony Bend and assign them to assist Naughty Dog on their ongoing projects. Staff from Sony Bend, including top staff, were unhappy and some departed the studio entirely. Others feared that they would be absorbed in Naughty Dog.

Just recently, Sony closed the doors of its Japan Studio, informing developers that it no longer wants to produce smaller games that are only successful in Japan. Sony's Japan Studio worked on many well-known PlayStation games like Ape Escape, Shadow of the Colossus, and Gravity Rush.

Sony's focus on big-budget has paid off in recent years, producing some of the best PlayStation games like God of War, Ghosts of Tsushima, and The Last of Us Part Two, and their exclusive content has always given Sony a competitive advantage over Microsoft. However, development teams within Sony looking for independence have been seemingly left in the dark.