It looks as though Microsoft isn't alone in building out its war chest with game development studios. Microsoft shook the gaming world earlier this month with its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard for nearly $69 billion, and now Sony is making moves of its own, buying Destiny developer Bungie. Compared to the Activision Blizzard purchase, Sony's $3.6 billion outlay for Bungie somewhat seems quaint.
"In SIE, we have found a partner who unconditionally supports us in all we are and who wants to accelerate our vision to create generation-spanning entertainment, all while preserving the creative independence that beats in Bungie's heart," wrote Bungie CEO Pete Parsons. "Like us, SIE believes that game worlds are only the beginning of what our IPs can become. Together, we share a dream of creating and fostering iconic franchises that unite friends around the world, families across generations, and fans across multiple platforms and entertainment mediums."
I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome Bungie to the PlayStation family! Bungie create community-driven games with outstanding technology that are enormous fun to play, and I know that everyone at PlayStation Studios will be excited about what we can share and learn together. pic.twitter.com/VySocfBxtxJanuary 31, 2022
While it would be easy to speculate that Sony's move to acquire Bungie was a knee-jerk reaction to Microsoft's monster purchase, the truth is that this deal has likely been in the works for quite some time. It just so happens that the timing makes Sony seem like it is playing defense against Microsoft's growing dominance in the game developer realm.
With that said, Sony intends to maintain Bungie as an "independent, multi-platform studio and publisher." This promise is also laid out in a FAQ that Bungie posted, which explains that "Destiny 2 will stay on all current platforms and expand to new platforms." Destiny 2 is currently playable across Xbox and PlayStation platforms, as well as PC and Google Stadia.
Bungie also explains that non-PlayStation platforms will not be affected by the announcement, nor will already-announced seasons, events, packs or expansions. In addition, there are no planned changes to the Destiny 2 rollout schedule for content released between now and The Final Shape, which will arrive in 2024. And if you were wondering about cross-play support being altered in any way (for the worse), those concerns are unfounded. "We believe games are best shared with friends, wherever they choose to play, and will continue to invest in new features and platforms," added Bungie.
So, at least where it relates to Destiny 2, gamers don't appear to have anything to worry about. However, the big question is what happens in the post-Destiny 2 phase for Bungie? Sony likely didn't acquire Bungie to play nice with Microsoft and PC platforms forever. Sony's "multi-platform" mantra for Bungie likely will have an expiration date, and we could see its future IP tied exclusively to the PlayStation platform for a competitive advantage.
"Bungie's technical expertise, coupled with their track record of building highly engaged communities, make them a natural fit for collaboration with PlayStation Studios," said PlayStation Studios chief Hermen Hulst. "We are excited to make plans to share skills and expertise, and to unlock the potential in having the brilliant minds at Bungie under the PlayStation roof."
Besides the hugely popular Destiny series, Bungie also created the blockbuster Halo franchise. As you may already know, Bungie was initially known as a developer of Mac games but made the transition to Microsoft's first-generation Xbox console with Halo: Combat Evolved. The studio followed up with Halo 2 and Halo 3 before breaking away from Microsoft to operate as an independent company in 2007 (although Bungie did develop Halo: Reach, which landed in 2010 for Xbox 360).