Sony Bought Bungie- what could this mean?
We are barely into 2022, and what a year it has been for gaming acquisitions already! On January 19th, Microsoft announced they were buying Activision Blizzard, best known for World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, for a pretty price tag of $68.7 billion. See fellow Couch Soup contributor Dan Morris’ take on this HERE!
Not to be outdone, on January 31st, it was announced that Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) was to acquire Bungie, the gaming studio best known for massive RPGs such as Halo and now Destiny. This seemingly random purchase seems to be another chess move in the acquisition match against Microsoft. Pete Parsons, CEO of Bungie, released a statement that said, “Today, Bungie begins our journey to become a global multi-media entertainment company.” He went on to discuss the creative freedom SIE will be giving them as they continue to “…independently publish and creatively develop our games.”
Within the gaming community, this news was ‘greeted’ by shock. Not only was it kept unusually quiet, but Bungie only separated from its former publishing partnership with Activision/Blizzard two years ago, priding itself on its ability to operate as a fully independent studio. To say this was unexpected would be a disservice to the word ‘understatement.’ Destiny is Bungie’s most significant IP, with over 10 million Guardians logging in to save humanity from the Darkness over the past seven years. There is a rightful reason to be concerned for those players who play on a platform other than Sony’s own PlayStation. There have been many historical instances of platform-exclusive features appearing first on PlayStation, with many exclusive rights lasting over one year before being released to other platforms, creating a strong dividing rift in the player community. This acquisition comes only three weeks before one of the biggest expansions in the Destiny 2 universe, the much-anticipated Witch Queen, which already has nearly 1 million preorders. The last thing Bungie needs is a more divided community and preorder cancellations.
On the other side, Bungie just spent years getting cross-save and cross-play functionality enabled and perfected. It’s doubtful that it will be retracted or that Destiny 2 will become an exclusive title to the PlayStation console any time soon. As seen in the photo below, the game will stay on all current platforms and expand to NEW platforms, whatever that means.
There was a lot of speculation about the reasoning behind the purchase, at $3.6 billion, which seems like a lot for a single studio. It was revealed that about one-third of that, or $1.2 billion, will be paid to keep the developers from jumping ship. What we need to remember is Sony bought Bungie, not Destiny. Sony has been itching to expand into other media outlets, such as TV. They announced at their investor presentation that they want to release 10 live service games in the next four years, according to this Kotaku article. That would be difficult to achieve without experienced developers like those at Bungie. There is also talk of a game already in development that Sony has seen and wants to have a hand in. While only theories, for now, we will see the true reasoning behind the secretive acquisition as the cards drop over the next many months and years