Sony’s PlayStation Snaps Up Longtime Partner Sucker Punch

Sony has acquired its longtime partner Sucker Punch Productions, which has been developing games for the PlayStation platform for more than a dozen years.

Sucker Punch, which is based in Bellevue, Wash., will become part of Sony Computer Entertainment, which now operates 16 videogame studios worldwide with roughly 2,700 employees.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sucker Punch is known for developing such top-selling game franchises as Sly Cooper and inFamous, which have sold more than seven million units combined worldwide.

Brian Fleming, co-founder and producer of Sucker Punch, said they approached Sony about the idea of acquiring the company for a number of reasons. In particular, he said, they started to feel an enormous sense of risk, given that the 75-employee company would only work on one title at a time.

In the beginning, a production might mean taking on a half-million-dollar project, but over time, Sucker Punch’s projects became more involved.

“It’s not that I want to take wild and foolish risks, but we feel this is the right partner for us, and it was time to seal the deal and get back to making great games,” Fleming said.

Scott Rohde, Sony Computer Entertainment SVP of Worldwide Studios, said Sucker Punch’s day-to-day operations will continue to be run by the current management team and company founders. He said the acquisition made sense because of the company’s ability to develop original titles.

“It’s about purchasing or retaining their culture and their ability to create great products,” Rohde said. “We won’t send in new people to manage them. Their management structure will stay the same. They like working with us, and we like working with them.”

The last acquisition that Sony Computer Entertainment made was in March 2010, when it bought Media Molecule Studios, the creator of the hit PlayStation3 title LittleBigPlanet.

Many of the industry’s latest acquisitions have been about big game publishers getting bigger and expanding into social or mobile gaming. The largest recent example is Electronic Art’s purchase of PopCap Games for $750 million; Zynga has also been on a shopping spree, acquiring more than one company every month for more than the past year.

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