Sony Interactive Entertainment and Chinese conglomerate Tencent have bought a combined 30% of stock in Elden Ring and Souls series developers FromSoftware, parent company Kadokawa Corporation have announced today. The transaction leaves Sony with a 14% stake in FromSoft, and Tencent acquiring 16% of the company’s shares. Kadokawa remain the largest shareholders, holding almost a 70% stake in FromSoft.
Elden Ring has been a huge success for FromSoftware since its release in February, selling millions of copies. It’s no surprise then that, in a climate where developers, publishers and intellectual property are being bought up on a regular basis, FromSoft have attracted some interest from bigger companies. Today’s deal cost ¥36.4 billion (£225 million).
FromSoft say they’ll use the money to invest in “more powerful game IP” and “establish a framework that allows the expansion of the scope of its own publishing in the significantly growing global market”. They’d previously had to rely on the help of heavyweights such as Activision, who published Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice outside of Japan.
Sony have recently committed to bringing more of their first-party games to PC in the next few years. The Japanese publishers might be planning their own game launcher for our beige boxes of choice, too. As Graham pointed out when Sony bought PC port specialists Nixxes last year – Bloodborne would be nice wouldn’t it?
The PlayStation producers aren’t averse to outright buying developers, having completed their $3.6 billion purchase of Bungie last month. The FromSoft shares purchase might be an initial investment, as with NetEase’s minority stake in Quantic Dream in 2019 ahead of their freshly announced full acquisition. I’ll let you know if anything changes.
The consolidation of the games industry doesn’t seem to be slowing down.