However, they will continue to provide their solutions to all developers and platform holders.
Sony Interactive Entertainment announced a rather surprising move today—they will be acquiring Audiokinetic, the makers of Wwise, an audio middleware platform that is widely used by developers in their games.
The surprising thing here is that Sony is investing in middleware at all—this is an area they have largely stayed out of (outside of the Phyre Engine, which they made back in the PS3 era as a cross platform engine). Presumably, their interest in Audiokinetic is because of VR, where strong audio design and technology can be crucial.
Interestingly enough, Sony and Audiokinetic both confirmed in the press release announcing the acquisition that Audiokinetic will continue offering Wwise to all developers and platform holders, including non-PlayStation ones. Which is smart, of course—middleware only has value if it is an industry standard, and even Microsoft continues to license out Havoc in spite of acquiring it earlier this generation.
“A rich and all-encompassing audio experience is increasingly critical to the overall gameplay experience, further enhancing immersion and emotion for the player,” said John Kodera, president and CEO of SIE. “Audiokinetic is a preeminent provider of audio solutions for the gaming industry, and we are confident that this acquisition will allow us to further grow the PlayStation platform and contribute to the broader gaming industry. It’s our goal to support Audiokinetic’s efforts to advance its audio technology while maintaining independence and platform neutrality.”
“Joining the SIE family is a win for both Audiokinetic and our partners who use our audio tools and middleware,” Audiokinectic CEO Martin H. Klein said. “We will remain independent and continue to deliver our suite of audio solutions to developers and platform holders, with even greater resources to continue innovating, expanding our market and enhancing our technology. We are also excited about the opportunity to contribute to SIE at a platform level.”
It’ll be interesting to see how Sony handles Audiokinetic, and what use its talents are put to.