Tencent to acquire Sackboy developer Sumo Digital for $1.3 billion

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,
Sumo Digital has worked collaboratively with both Sony and Microsoft for many years on projects like Sackboy: A Big Adventure and Crackdown 3. The multinational conglomerate Tencent Holdings is set to buy the British developer and publisher in a deal worth £919m ($1.27bn).

sackboy a big adventure sumo digital tencent

Tencent has had a stake in Sumo worth 8.75% since 2019, but it will now buy out the other shareholders through a subsidiary called Sixjoy Hong Kong Limited. The deal is worth a reported £919m ($1.27bn) which will include all five central UK-based studios and five other development teams. These teams often share work-for-hire projects, like the aforementioned BAFTA winner Sackboy: A Big Adventure and LitteBigPlanet 3 for Sony or Focus Home Interactive published Hood: Outlaws and Legends. Sumo does a small amount of work on in-house IP like Snake Pass, but also help publish horror titles through its ownership of The Chinese Room. The core studio is Sumo Sheffield, who helped with Crackdown 3 for Microsoft. In another cross-over between Sumo and the wider gaming sphere, Scott Kirkland — former head of PlayStation first-party Evolution Studios — currently leads the Sumo Warrington team.

CEO of Sumo Carl Carvers said in an official statement (thanks, gamesindustry.biz): "The opportunity to work with Tencent is one we just couldn't miss. It would bring another dimension to Sumo, presenting opportunities for us to truly stamp our mark on this amazing industry, in ways which have previously been out-of-reach.

"Tencent has a strong track record for backing management teams and their existing strategies. Alongside the acceleration of own-IP work, Tencent has demonstrated its commitment to backing our client work and has stated its intention to ensure that we have the necessary investment to continue focusing on work with our key strategic partners on turn-key and co-development projects."

Non-executive chairman of Sumo Ian Livingstone gave a statement to Reuters. "The Board of Sumo firmly believes the business will benefit from Tencent's broad videogaming eco-system, proven industry expertise and its strategic resources."

On Tencent's part, Chief Strategy Officer James Mitchell also gave a statement. "Tencent is proud to have been an investor in Sumo since 2019, and we view the proposed combination as an evolution of our partnership. Tencent is a committed investor in the game industry, with a track record of supporting the growth of game studios around the world. We hold Sumo's team and the games they produce in high regard, and its strategy and spirit of innovation have underpinned the success of the business over many years."

What do you think of the news? Exciting new territory for Sumo? Or just more Tencent consolidation? Let us know in the comments and we will be sure to see you there!
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Associate Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation news. He writes about upcoming exclusives like The Last of Us and God of War, PS Plus and PS Studios news, and his favourite games — The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed, and The Outer Wilds — before an evening swim.