Sony to buy former Assassin's Creed veteran Jade Raymond's Haven Gaming Studio

Sony shares were up as much as 1.6 per cent in Tokyo. PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN MATEO (BLOOMBERG) - Sony Group said it is buying Montreal-based video game development studio Haven Entertainment Studios, led by industry veteran Jade Raymond. Terms of the deal were not disclosed in a statement on Monday (March 21).

Founded a year ago with an initial investment from Sony Interactive Entertainment, Haven includes game creators with more than a decade of experience working on some of the industry's most popular games.

Ms Raymond, who previously founded Ubisoft Entertainment's Toronto studio and led Google's Stadia game development efforts, is one of the creative forces behind the Assassin's Creed franchise. She started her career in gaming with Sony back in 1998.

Sony shares were up as much as 1.6 per cent in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Haven Studios is already working on its first project for Sony's PlayStation, a multiplayer game that Sony described as a live experience "built upon a systemic and evolving world focused on delivering freedom, thrill, and playfulness". Bringing the creative team in-house extends Sony's strategy of acquiring exclusive content for its platform.

"With Haven, Sony is making yet another bet on live-service games - one of PlayStation's Achilles heels until just recently," said Dr Serkan Toto, an analyst in Tokyo. "With Ms Raymond, Sony is also securing one of the, unfortunately, still relatively rare female superstar creators in the industry."

The video game sector has been undergoing a wave of consolidation this year. In January, Sony bought the developer Bungie, the United States video game developer behind the popular Destiny and Halo franchises, for US$3.6 billion (S$4.9 billion). Microsoft is scooping up Activision Blizzard for US$69 billion in its biggest-ever acquisition, and Take-Two Interactive Software has agreed to acquire mobile game maker Zynga for US$11 billion.

"Joining PlayStation Studios provides Haven with the creative freedom and unparalleled support to focus on building the highest quality games," Ms Raymond said in the announcement. "We intend to fully embrace the incredible capabilities of the PS5 to create new worlds that inspire players and allow them to connect in new ways."

With a team of more than 60 employees, Haven Studios will be the 18th studio to join the PlayStation Studios family, according to Sony. The studio operations will continue to be run by the management team at Haven in close collaboration with PlayStation Studios' leadership team.

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