Sony already has some of the strongest exclusives in gaming on PlayStation 4 thanks to games like God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and The Last of Us. With the purchase of Insomniac Games last year, Sony brought Marvel's Spider-Man into the fold permanently, and based on the staggering amount of money the company paid for it, we probably have a series of new Spider-Man games to look forward to on the PlayStation 5 and beyond. Does that make the inevitable Spider-Man 2 bigger than even The Last of Us Part 2 already?
In August 2019, Sony Interactive Entertainment acquired Insomniac Games, a storied developer known for franchises like Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank, and the wildly successful PS4 exclusive Marvel's Spider-Man. Through a filing made to the US Securities and Exchange Commission Monday, Sony disclosed the fact that it paid a whopping $229 million for Insomniac Games and confirmed that it will be a "wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony" by the end of this fiscal year.
This is a massive amount of money for a gaming publisher to spend on a single developer, but it speaks to how important Insomniac Games has become to Sony, namely because of how Spider-Man PS4 essentially launched what will one day be a long-standing and immensely popular franchise of games. Insomniac's price tag indicates that Spider-Man sequels are a hugely important investment in the future of PlayStation consoles.
We know that Spider-Man PS4 has sold at least 13.2 million units worldwide as of August 2019, a number that has only increased in the months since. According to The NPD Group's market researcher Mat Piscatella, this makes it the PS4's best-selling exclusive. That's a success Sony won't take lightly with next-gen consoles on the horizon. Ironically, it's a power move on par with Disney's purchase of Fox to merge Marvel franchises. It also means that Sony might perceive Insomniac as more important than any other exclusive developer in its lineup.
Amazingly, Sony may have already made back their investment on Insomniac Games.
Even when one considers an average price of $35 per copy of Spider-Man with the aforementioned 13.2 million sales figure, the game may have made Sony over $455 million in revenue. Insomniac Games is obviously the main money-making video game developer for Sony now — or at least Sony executives sure think so.
This puts Insomniac on par with other top-tier Sony studios like Naughty Dog, which really needs to prove itself with The Last of Us Part II to stay relevant. With the PS5 just months away, Insomniac Games could take the spot of top-dog within Sony's pantheon of developers. It might even be working on a PS5 launch title in secret that could be announced in the coming months.
What could Insomniac be working on?
Obviously, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 must be at some stage of development. Given its success both critically and financially, there's no doubt in anyone's mind that sequels will happen. While some fans want it to be built for the PS4, its development cycle will likely take longer than two years. A credible rumor from Kinda Funny's Imran Khan placed it as a holiday 2021 release. As such, it will likely be a PS5 exclusive.
As for 2020, a new Ratchet & Clank game seems far more likely as the next game in the pipeline that might even be a PS5 launch title. Entries in the series have often been launched as a Sony exclusive previously, and it has been almost four years since the last game in the series was released. PS5's launch seems like the perfect time to reintroduce the series to players. Sacred Symbol's Colin Moriarty reported that Sony has plans to do just this.
Insomniac Games may also be working on other PS5 projects that we just don't know about yet. The company has extensive VR experience with titles like Stormland, so Sony could put them on a PSVR title if that's a peripheral they want to support more in the coming years.
No matter what they put out, Insomniac Games will definitely be the developer to watch during the course of the PS5's lifespan.