Sony Confirms It has Shut Down SOCOM and MAG's Studio

As first reported last week by Kotaku, Zipper Interactive, the studio behind PS3-exclusive shooters like MAG and the SOCOM series, has been closed. Sony confirmed the closure in a statement this afternoon to Game Informer.


In the statement, Sony added that "Zipper has completed all work associated with its most recent project, Unit 13 for PlayStation Vita. Zipper titles MAG, SOCOM 4 and Unit 13 will continue to be supported, including the new Daily Challenges in Unit 13."

Zipper itself acknowledged the end in a farewell Tweet moments ago. "After 17 years it's time to head off into the sunset. A sincere thank you to all our fans for everything you've done for us. Farewell."

Sony Closes Zipper Interactive [Game Informer]



I, for one, am not surprised, I long see this coming.

Let's face it, Zipper was never one of Sony's big boys. Their games, while quite fun, were always too generic, too buggy, and were never considered AAA titles. Sony never really pushed them hard either, when it comes to financing and marketing their games. From a business stand point, closing them were the right move for the company, I don't think they made Sony big money over the last 5 years.

Let's look at Zipper's games. SOCOM 1 and 2 were ahead of its time for a console tactical shooter, but the franchise had failed to evolve with time. I'm not saying there is no market for realistic military plot, but they could've packaged and marketed the whole SOCOM franchise better. Their writing and characters failed to stand out due to more accessible, mainstream military shooters these days (COD4 with its set pieces and characters like Price, Soap). And on a technical stand point, their gameplay design and production values are far too low tech compared to their cutting edge contemporaries (Tactical shooters like Rainbow Six, GRAW, BiA and graphic engines like Uncharted and Gears, etc).

SOCOM, while more realistic than the rest, is first and foremost a shooter game. And in a time where other shooters dominates with smooth controls, you just had to overlook SOCOM with its clunky controls and bland graphics.

MAG is probably their one shot at mainstream market, and it failed to make an impact when released. The concept is sound, but the generic character designs, and again clunky shooting mechanics and bugs throughout. Also the marketing, 256 players shooter is a big thing, Sony could've played that angle in marketing it better. A pile of shit can make a pile of money if marketed correctly (Michael Bay movies), and a a seemingly pot of gold can make squat if marketed poorly (John Carter).