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Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Sony's PlayStation division has purchased Finnish studio Housemarque, makers of the sensational PS5 game "Returnal."

Why it matters: Sony's recipe for PlayStation success centers on hot exclusive games, which are more easily had when you own top-caliber studios.

Between the lines: It's not a terribly surprising acquisition, given Housemarque's long-time partnership with Sony.

  • The Finnish studio has released games on other platforms since its founding in 1995, but it also showed up with stellar exclusive releases on or close to the launch dates of the PS3, PS4 and PS5.
  • Last year, Sony bought another long-time nearly exclusive partner, Insomniac, for $229 million.
  • In recent years, Housemarque publicly stressed about the commercial struggles of its games. The company's Mikael Haveri told Axios recently that making "Returnal" with Sony was key to reinvigorating the studio.

The big picture: The games industry is increasingly high-stakes, which has both shortened the list of medium-sized studios willing to go it alone and pressured big publishers and platform holders to strengthen their development resources.

  • Long-time indies such as Insomniac and Texas-based Gearbox sold to big players in the past two years.
  • Since 2018, Microsoft successfully wooed a slew of indies, including Double Fine, Obsidian, and Ninja Theory, all before that Xbox team's bigger-profile purchase of Zenimax.
  • Tencent keeps buying and investing in studios, but even the more conservative Nintendo bought a strong indie (and long time partner) this year.

What's next: Housemarque co-founder Ilari Kuittinen told GQ that the studio has big plans for its future games, but, first, the developers are due for a vacation.

Go deeper

A developer's four-day workweek

"Bugsnax." Image: Young Horses

Bugsnax developer Young Horses is permanently altering its workweeks to only four days in an effort to create a healthier work-life balance at its studio.

Why it matters: The video game industry is known for intense crunch, but moving away from even 40-hour workweeks is proof that model doesn't need to be the norm.

Updated 16 mins ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.

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