Following last week’s blockbuster acquisition that saw Microsoft Corp acquire Activision Blizzard for USD $69 billion, Sony Interactive Entertainment matched it with their own takeover, acquiring independent game developer Bungie for USD $3.6 billion.
Upon settlement of the acquisition, Sony will have exclusive access to one of the most popular first-person shooter games which can compete with the popular Call of Duty franchise, now owned by Microsoft through Activision Blizzard.
Bungie is best known for developing Destiny and the Halo franchise. Currently, they’re focused on the long-term development of their Destiny 2 series. A spokesperson from Sony said the deal will give it access to Bungie’s live game services and technology expertise and stated it will bolster Sony’s collection of game-making studios.
“We’ve had a strong partnership with Bungie since the inception of the Destiny franchise, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to officially welcome the studio to the PlayStation family,” Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan said.
The deal was struck on similar terms as the Microsoft-Activision deal, with Sony’s goal to add Bungie franchises to their platform which will give them access to a significantly wider audience and players.
“This is an important step in our strategy to expand the reach of PlayStation to a much wider audience. We understand how vital Bungie’s community is to the studio and look forward to supporting them as they remain independent and continue to grow.”
While Microsoft’s goal is to pack all their games into a single subscription, Xbox Game Pass, Sony is committed to develop large games and keep some exclusive to PlayStation – a strategy that helped with the sales of the recent PlayStation 5, eclipsing 116 million units sold.
With Sony, Bungie’s potential to create games is unlimited. They will not only continue developing their own games but games that can be accessed from any platform. “We want the worlds we are creating to extend to anywhere people play games. We will continue to be self-published, creatively independent, and we will continue to drive one, unified Bungie community,” Bungie said in a statement.
Bungie has an interesting history. Founded in 1991, it helped put Xbox on the map. Microsoft paid about USD $30 million to acquire the game studio when it was solely a Mac game developer working on the original Halo game (Halo: Combat Evolved). Over time the Halo franchise became a staple for Xbox and generated billions of dollars in sales. In 2007, Bungie negotiated a deal to become independent from Microsoft so they could work on their own next big game, Destiny, with help from Activision. That relationship ceased in 2019 and Bungie began self-publishing and operating autonomously.
This deal isn’t on the same scale as Microsoft’s, but it is still a major studio acquisition which doesn’t leave many more on the table. It is also an interesting step for Bungie to transform from a single franchise development team into a global, multi franchise entertainment studio.
The sale caps off a massive month in the gaming industry with Microsoft’s US$69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and Take Two Interactive’s US$12.7 billion purchase of Zynga.