The recent purchase of Jade Raymond’s new company Haven Studios by Sony is just the latest in a long line of game developers who have joined the fold. Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) was established in 1993 as Sony Computer Entertainment, and today it's one of the largest in-house game developers in the world. Much like other major publishers, Sony has decades of experience under its belt in founding, acquiring, and utilizing multiple developer teams for exclusive titles for the PlayStation consoles.
So here is a list of all of the game development teams under Sony.
San Mateo Studio, XDev, and Malaysia Studio
Founded: 1998, 2000, and 2020
Less development teams and more in-house support studios, Sony’s reach internationally saw the expansion of support teams that can help with the large output of releases from first-party studios. San Mateo Studio, for example, has done support for second-party developers under Sony, so teams like Insomniac would get additional support for games like Spyro the Dragon and Ratchet & Clank. XDEV works on third-party development for PlayStation titles, such as collaborations with Quantic Dream and Sumo Digital. Finally, Malaysia Studio is a brand new support team that focuses solely on art and animation for SIE.
The first internal developer founded by Sony, Polyphony Digital originally started as Polys Entertainment in 1994, working on several racing games for the original PlayStation including Motor Toon Grand Prix and the first Gran Turismo. The success of Gran Turismo would help establish the studio as the main development team, and it has since focused almost exclusively on the Gran Turismo franchise for Sony. Polyphony Digital today has four different development studios and even creates special versions of Gran Turismo for the automotive industry to demonstrate some of their car designs. It had even been contracted to design the multifunction display on the Nissan GT-R in 2007.
Santa Monica Studio
Founded in 1999 by longtime Sony employee Allan Becker, Santa Monica Studio’s first game would be the high-speed racing title Kinetica for the PlayStation 2 in 2001. However, their breakout success would be 2005’s God of War, which quickly established the studio as a major franchise player for Sony. Since 2005, Santa Monica Studio has released four more God of War titles, with God of War: Ragnarok coming in 2022. Outside of game development, Santa Monica Studio also focuses as a publisher wing for indie exclusives, including Thatgamecompany, Q-Games, and, before they were purchased, Bluepoint Games.
Bend Studio has a long (and infamous) history. Originally known as Blank Berlyn & Co. before changing their name to Eidetic in 1995, the studio was known for two games: the highly successful Syphon Filter series and the much-reviled Bubsy 3D. The studio changed its name in 2000, when it was acquired by Sony, and has worked on multiple Syphon Filter titles, the PS Vita Uncharted games, and most recently, the open-world zombie game Days Gone.
Arguably the crown jewel of Sony’s internal studios, Naughty Dog has a long history in the industry, being one of the few development studios from the 1980s still making games. Their first game was an Apple II title, Math Jam, but for Sony fans, they are best known for the Crash Bandicoot games on the original PlayStation. The success of Crash Bandicoot games led to their purchase in 2001, and Naughty Dog continued on establishing key franchises for Sony, including Jak & Daxter, Uncharted, and The Last of Us.
San Diego Studio
San Diego Studio was founded primarily due to the merger of two smaller game developers: Red Zone Interactive and 989 Sports. Both studios were internal dev teams that focused primarily on sports titles, though their first game after San Diego Studio was formed was the action game The Mark of Kri for the PlayStation 2. Since then, San Diego Studio has been responsible for the MLB: The Show series and a smattering of other titles here and there.
The Dutch-based developer started life as Lost Boys Games in 2000 and made a few little-known titles for the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance before they changed their name to Guerrilla Games in 2003 after it was purchased by Media Republic, an independent publisher. Their next big game would be Killzone, which became a massive success and would spur Sony to pick up the company in 2005. Since then, Guerrilla Games has focused on Killzone and their most recent creation, Horizon: Zero Dawn and its recently released sequel, Horizon: Forbidden West. A third Horizon title, the VR2 game titled Call of the Mountain, is in development.
Founded in 2006 by ex-Lionhead Studios developers Mark Healey, Alex Evans, Kareem Ettouney, and David Smith, Media Molecule would directly pitch to Sony a game then titled Craftworld, which would later spawn into the incredibly popular LittleBigPlanet series. The runaway success of LittleBigPlanet, and the close working relationship with other Sony studios on the PSP version of the game, would see Media Molecule acquired in 2010. Since then, they have worked on more LittleBigPlanet games, the Tearaway series, and, most recently, Dreams.
Sucker Punch Productions
Sucker Punch Productions had humble beginnings, with their debut game being the forgotten platformer Rocket: Robot on Wheels for the Nintendo 64. Their second title, however, would be the Sony-exclusive Sly Cooper and The Thievius Raccoonus, which became a massive hit and spawned the Sly Cooper franchise. They then created the successful Infamous series, with Sony finally acquiring the studio after being a second-party developer for over a decade. Their latest game has been the critically acclaimed Ghost of Tsushima.
Pixelopus was founded by Sony to try and foster new talent in the gaming industry. Support studio San Mateo Studio was tasked to work with smaller dev teams after the success of Journey. The team would recruit students at Carnegie Mellon University, offering six students from the development program there, and three more candidates from San Jose State, their own development team with veteran leadership. The small team made their first game, Entwined, shortly after, and since then have released Concrete Genie in 2019. A new, unannounced game is currently in development for the PlayStation 5.
Another veteran studio, Insomniac Games has a long history with Sony as a second-party developer, working closely with multiple SIE teams for 25 years before they were officially acquired. Their biggest claims to fame would include many important franchises for Sony, such as Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank, Resistance, and most recently, Marvel’s Spider-Man. Insomniac Games has branched out and developed for multiple platforms as well, including the PC, Xbox systems, Android and iOS devices, and even the Oculus Rift. They are currently working on a pair of Marvel games: Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Marvel’s Wolverine.
The newest studio by SIE, Team Asobi is a Japanese-based studio that was formerly part of Japan Studio and were primarily focused on oddball concepts for the PlayStation, such as The Playroom and The Playroom VR for the PlayStation 4. The team continued to experiment with VR with Astro Bot Rescue Mission, and their last game under Japan Studio was Astro’s Playroom for the PlayStation 5. Now a wholly separate entity, it is currently unknown what Team Asobi will work on next.
An independent third-party developer for years, Bluepoint Games became well known for their remasters of older titles for Sony, which by the early 2010s was a growing marketplace. Ironically, their first game -- Blast Factor -- was one of the first downloadable-only titles ever released, and to this day, it's the only original game by Bluepoint Games. Their first remaster was the God of War Collection, followed by ports of other Sony titles like the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, and, most recently, Demon's Souls for the PlayStation 5. They were officially acquired in 2021 as part of a string of acquisitions by Sony.
Firesprite is a British-based development studio that has worked on and off as a support studio for Sony. They have done additional work with Japan Studio on The Playroom and The Playroom VR, while developing mobile-centric games based on Sony characters, like Run Sackboy! Run! Their biggest independent game is The Persistence, which saw multiplatform releases in 2020, before they were purchased by Sony. Firesprite is definitely growing though, as they were given a co-developer credit with Guerrilla Games on their upcoming VR2 title Horizon: Call of the Mountain.
Finnish developer Housemarque is another industry veteran that has gone through many changes over the years. Originally formed in 1995 after the merger of two Finnish developers, Bloodhouse and Terramarque, Housemarque would cultivate a development history of smaller, AA games. The Super Stardust series may be their biggest claim to fame, along with popular titles like Outland, Resogun, and Alienation. It was their first true AAA title, the PlayStation-exclusive Returnal, that convinced Sony to acquire Housemarque in June of 2021.
Nixxes Software and Valkyrie Entertainment
Founded: 1999 and 2002
Two more support studios that were only recently acquired, both focus on two entirely different markets at this time. Nixxes Software is primarily known for PC ports of PlayStation games, which has become increasingly popular for Sony to do so for some of their more marquee titles such as Horizon: Zero Dawn. Valkyrie Entertainment, however, has done a lot of support work for multiple titles, but it's primarily focused today on helping with the development of God of War and God of War: Ragnarok for Santa Monica Studio.
An independent studio founded by industry veteran Jade Raymond, Haven Studios was originally invested in March 2021 by SIE to create a new IP for PlayStation. A year after its founding, Haven has been officially acquired by Sony, with its upcoming project still to be announced, which is touted to be an original AAA multiplayer game.
Bungie has a long history in game development. An independent studio responsible for the Marathon series, they were originally a second-party developer for Microsoft and Xbox Game Studios, creating the popular Halo franchise in the process. Bungie would regain independence in 2007, leaving Microsoft and the Halo series behind to focus on their next big game, the looter-shooter Destiny.
Now, after Destiny and Destiny 2, Sony has announced its intent to acquire Bungie, possibly in response to the major acquisitions by Microsoft. At this time the deal is not officially set yet, but it has been widely reported that Bungie will continue to operate with multiplatform releases and remain independent, while Sony hopes to use Bungie’s expertise in live-service games to help launch a proposed 10 different live-service games by 2026. The deal, reported at $3.6 billion, is also a high asking price to retain Bungie employees and to hire new staff to continue ongoing development of Destiny 2 and whatever Bungie’s next project will be.
And there you have it, a list of all the currently active game studios under Sony Interactive Entertainment. Sony’s tradition of buying studios after success has been a long-standing one for years, so who knows who will be next for the tech giant going forward.