Liverpool videogame studio Firesprite has been acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment.

The transaction builds on an eight-year partnership between the two businesses which has seen Firesprite develop and showcase games for the PlayStation hardware.

Firesprite has developed games for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR launch, including The Playroom, and most recently released an enhanced edition of acclaimed survival horror title The Persistence for next gen platform PlayStation 5.

Following the deal’s completion, Firesprite will join the global development operation of PlayStation Studios and play a critical role in strengthening SIE’s exclusive games catalogue in genres outside of PlayStation Studios’ core offerings.

The day-to-day operations post-acquisition will continue to be run by Firesprite’s current management team.

“At Firesprite, we’re always striving to bring something new to a game or genre and developing for new technologies is a driving force of our passion,” said co-founder and CEO Graeme Ankers.

“Joining PlayStation Studios will allow us to amplify this passion, working more closely on cutting-edge hardware without any limitations and furthering our studio’s heritage of creativity and technical innovation to offer some truly unique experiences for PlayStation fans.”

The corporate team at law firm Irwin Mitchell advised Firesprite on the deal. Media & entertainment sector lead Laura Harper has worked with Firesprite for several years, having previously advised them on a major publishing deal for the studio’s debut owned IP The Persistence. 

She also advised the company on its exclusive licensing and worldwide distribution deal with SIE for the game’s launch on the PlayStation VR platform.

Harper said: “The games industry is a vital cog in the North West economy and Firesprite’s long-standing relationship with SIE has always demonstrated the strength of our global reputation in this highly competitive and fast-moving sector.

“The association between the two businesses has over the years led to the development of some outstanding games, and now it has culminated in a major deal for the region. I’m delighted for Graeme and the team as Firesprite starts a new and exciting chapter.”

The Leeds office of Dow Schofield Watts provided corporate finance advice to the founders.

Paul Herriott, corporate finance director at Dow Schofield Watts, said: “The evolution and growth at Firesprite over the last few years, that we have witnessed in working with the business, has been more than impressive. Firesprite is a clear strategic fit with Sony in a sector that has been incredibly active for investors and buyers. The transaction will undoubtedly fuel the next phase of growth for this great business.”