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Sony’s $229 Million Splurge is Small Change for PS4’s Spider-Man

An SEC filing reveals that Sony paid a relatively low $229 million to acquire Marvel's Spider-Man developer Insomniac Games.

Last updates by
Thomas Bardwell
February 11, 2020 10:12 AM
  • Sony acquired Insomniac Games for $229 million, mainly in cash.
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man brought in nearly 200 million in the first three days after release.
  • Sony secured a bargain compared to other high-profile studio acquisitions.

Sony Interactive Entertainment spent $229 million to acquire Insomniac Games according to details in a quarterly securities report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday.

$229 Million For Spider-Man Developer

The pertinent passage reads;

Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary in the Game & Network Services (“G&NS”) segment of Sony, completed the acquisition of Insomniac Games, Inc. (“Insomniac Games”), a game developer. The consideration for this acquisition of 24,895 million yen (229 million U.S. dollars) was mainly paid in cash.

The acquisition of the studio took place last August. It brought to an end Insomniac Game’ 25-year stint as an independent studio where it developed games such as Ratchet & Clank, Spyro The Dragon, and Sunset Overdrive. The phenomenal success of Marvel’s Spider-Man is arguably what prompted Sony to take the plunge and buy Insomniac.

Sony's $229 M Studio Deal's Small Change for PS4's Spider-Man
Source: Insomniac Games

The PlayStation 4 exclusive immediately rose to the top of the charts, selling 3.3 million units in the first three days after release when it launched on Sept. 7, 2018. Marvel’s Spider-Man broke records and became the best-selling first-party title ever ousting God of War from the top spot.

Estimates taking into account the $60 retail price suggest the game brought in $198 million in that time frame alone.

By the end of November 2019, the game had sold over 9 million copies worldwide. As of July 28, 2019, Sony had shipped 13.2 million copies worldwide. Price reductions, console bundles, and sales make calculating the total revenue difficult. Nevertheless, it is presumably approaching half a billion dollars. Sony has understandably refused to publish exact numbers.

A Bargain

With that figure in mind, the $229 million appears relatively low. Sony picked up Insomniac Games on the cheap. It’s not unreasonable to speculate that Sony would have raised the sum, – and more – as the publisher of Marvel’s Spider-Man.

To highlight Sony’s bargain buy, Microsoft acquired Rare for an estimated $375 million back in 2002. In November 2017, Electronic Arts brought up Respawn Entertainment of Titanfall fame with a deal amounting to as much as $455 million (dependent on hitting target incentives).