Sony buys Bungie, creator of Halo and Destiny, to bolster PlayStation exclusives
Bungie created Halo, the video game that launched alongside the original Microsoft Xbox
Sony just announced that it’s buying Bungie, Inc., the creator of the hugely successful Halo and Destiny video games, in a deal worth $3.6 billion.
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Sony-Bungie info ASAP
Sony bought game developer Bungie for $3.6 billion
Bungie is known for creating Halo (2001 to 2010) and Destiny 1 and 2
But today’s deal won’t make Destiny 2 a PlayStation-exclusive
A counterweight to Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard for $69 billion
Microsoft pledged to release the next three Call of Duty games on PlayStation as well as Xbox. This may be Sony’s bargaining chip in the future
This is unlikely to be Sony’s last acquisition in 2022
Sony and Microsoft’s real foe? Amazon, Google and Facebook, which have budgets and intent to continue to make an impact in the gaming space
Today’s news means that the developer behind the first nine years of Halo – credited with putting Microsoft Xbox on the map – is going to fall under the PlayStation brand. Bungie, a Bellevue, Washington-based company, and its more than 900 employees, will act as an independent subsidiary of Sony Interactive Entertainment.
“We remain in charge of our destiny,” wrote Bungie CEO Pete Parsons. “We will continue to independently publish and creatively develop our games. We will continue to drive one, unified Bungie community. Our games will continue to be where our community is, wherever they choose to play.”
The future of Destiny 2 will not be impacted, according to Bungie, which immediately published an FAQ when the acquisition was announced today. So if you play Bungie games on Xbox, Steam or PlayStation, your experience will not be impacted – at least for this particular free-to-play online multiplayer game.
Sony takes Bungie, Microsoft takes Activision
The news isn’t a total surprise to gamers and industry watchers who saw Microsoft buying Activision two weeks ago as just the start of interactive media consolidation.
Two fun facts:
Bungie created Halo, which gave Microsoft Xbox its first hit; Activision owned the licenses of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, which were early hits for the original PlayStation console. Now…
Sony owns the maker of Halo (but not the Halo IP)
Microsoft owns Crash Bandicoot and Spyro (but not developer Naughty Dog, the Sony-owned studio that made those original games but never held the licenses)
Activision helped Bungie publish Destiny and Destiny 2, its follow-up games after leaving the Halo universe to Microsoft developer 343 Industries in 2010
Now both of these companies – Activision and Bungie – are to be wholly owned by first-party video game hardware makers
What’s in it for PlayStation?
This is a significantly smaller deal than Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, worth $69 billion and spanning 43 years of IP compared to today’s deal of $3.6 billion.
However, it’s an impactful counterweight in case Microsoft tries to make Activision-owned Call of Duty an Xbox Series X exclusive in the future. Microsoft has pledged that the next three Call of Duty games will remain multiplatform, but that leaves open the possibility that Call of Duty will be Xbox-only in 2023 or 2024.
Right now, Sony is likely pushing its in-house PlayStation studios to develop PSVR 2 games, something that Bungie might be more willing to do – or it may have been part of the $3.6 billion deal. If there was one thing that the original PSVR lacked it was a game that really sold the hardware. Bungie, having made Halo, has experience here.
Sony is clearly stating that Destiny 2 will remain multiplatform, but Bungie is likely working on future games, as noted by Parsons saying that Bungie is “hiring across all disciplines for Destiny 2 and for all new worlds beyond.” [emphasis added]
Why is this happening? Here’s an answer
Exclusives for each console are important, but, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer sounded off on the companies that he feels are Xbox’s true competition: not Sony PlayStation or Nintendo, but new entrants into the market with large budgets and billions of users: Google, Amazon and Facebook.
With Microsoft pledging multiplatform support for Call of Duty, and Sony and Bungie emphatically stating that Destiny 2 won’t change on non-PlayStation consoles, it seems like your favorite games and game developers won’t change – except if you intend to play on Google, Amazon and Facebook platforms.
Activision and Bungie being acquired by Microsoft and Sony respectively may only be the beginning of independent video game publishers and developers being scooped up by console hardware makers.
If Bungie isn’t the last acquisition, who’s next?
There are a host of other privately owned and publically traded companies that Microsoft and Sony could buy next:
Kojima Productions (Death Stranding)
This is just a small list of video game publishers and developers Sony and Microsoft could acquire in the future, with Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive being the biggest juggernauts of the group.
Of course, if Facebook, Amazon and Google are serious about getting further into the gaming space, expect any of those three companies to throw their budgets around. They have the ability to scoop up these same companies through acquisitions, tying their hardware and software platforms to the future of your favorite video game franchises.