Tom Holland, in the war between Sony and Microsoft | Babelia


If the news last month was the purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, this week we have had the reaction of Sony, by acquiring the Bungie company for 3,600 million dollars. As happened with publishers in its day, business concentration seems to be an unstoppable fact in the world of video games.

Playground Games, Compulsion Games, Ninja Theory, Bethesda… in total, Microsoft now has 33 development studios, which further places it among the video game companies with the largest market share. But his war is not with Nintendo, Apple or Tencent, other of the largest, but with someone very specific: Sony. With Tencent and its League of Legends, with Nintendo and its Pokemon, Microsoft does not share the same cake, but with Sony yes: both companies fight to take control of the home video game console market (Microsoft with Xbox; Sony with Play Station). Both have been buying studios in recent years, but the titanic outlay of money that Microsoft made when acquiring Activision broke the deck, and many wonder if there is any scenario in which it is really possible to make profitable the 68,000 million dollars that the company cost. operation. Those many saw Microsoft’s move as a direct affront to Sony, since Activision owns one of the franchises that brings in the most money to the Play Station ecosystem, Call of Duty.

Although Microsoft has already said that it will not withdraw the military action saga from the Play Station catalog for now, the truth is that, given this concentration, and given the challenges that the future may bring to the digital world, both companies are leaning towards positions very different. Faced with the economic or purely recreational impact, Sony has chosen to turn towards the semiotic impact. That is to say, there are all kinds of video games, but Sony’s exclusive ones have been functioning, for a long time, as great milestones on the calendar in the world of large-scale video games. We are talking about titles that in recent years have left a deep dent in the virtual ecosystem: Shadow of the Colossus, Bloodborne, Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us, God of War…and from others that have been exclusive for some time (sometimes years) before moving to PC like Death Stranding, uncharted, Final Fantasy 7 Remake or Horizon Zero Dawn. Sometimes it works better, sometimes it works worse, but the Japanese company strives for its big releases to go beyond the realm of entertainment and have a large-scale cultural impact.

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Image from the adaptation of HBO's 'The Last of Us'.
Image from the adaptation of HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’.

The other day, in this same newspaper, the growing phenomenon of adaptations was pointed out, of the transfer between media: books that become movies, movies in videogames, videogames in comics, comics in series. Next week the adaptation of Uncharted, in which Tom Holland plays that kind of clueless Indiana Jones that is the treasure hunter Nathan Drake, and Mark Wahlberg plays his godfather of adventures, Victor Sullivan. The blockbuster shares a news section with the shooting of The Last of Us, which HBO will premiere next year. These are two very important products for Sony’s image and the spearhead of its transmedia strategy. As we said, the search for profound cultural impacts is gaining ground in a scenario in which the landing of new desktop consoles (Xbox Series and PS5) has been limited by the pandemic and the supply crisis, especially microchips.

Video games are (perhaps along with Japanese anime) the most eclectic hotbed of exciting new intellectual properties, and their digital nature makes them especially likely to seduce the world through social networks and to see many people online what they see. they have to offer in terms of narratives, characters, world creation or stories. There was a time when the cinema was nourished by novels. Then he went on to feed on comics. It is not a matter of playing Nostradamus, but if someone wants to know where the cultural trends that will permeate the world in the coming years are going to come from, they already know where to look.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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