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Sony Entertainment to Buy Jade Raymond’s Haven Gaming Studio

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(Bloomberg) -- Sony Group Corp. said it’s buying Montreal-based video game development studio Haven Entertainment Studios Inc., led by industry veteran Jade Raymond. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed in a statement on Monday.

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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. Raymond, who previously founded Ubisoft Entertainment SA’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% 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 Serkan Toto, an analyst in Tokyo. “With 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 Inc., the U.S. video game developer behind the popular Destiny and Halo franchises, for $3.6 billion. Microsoft Corp. is scooping up Activision Blizzard Inc. for $69 billion in its biggest-ever acquisition, and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. has agreed to acquire mobile game maker Zynga Inc. for $11 billion.

“Joining PlayStation Studios provides Haven with the creative freedom and unparalleled support to focus on building the highest quality games,” 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.

(Updates with analyst comment and share price reaction)

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