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Sony's Bungie acquisition is about more than PlayStation vs Xbox fanboy wars

Following the announcement that Sony is buying Bungie for $3.6 billion, we look into why the deal is about more than just replying to Microsoft.

Yesterday, we heard the company behind PlayStation – the tech giant, Sonyis purchasing Destiny developer Bungie in an earth-shaking $3.6 billion deal. But, as with the seismic Microsoft/Activision acquisition that took place at the start of January, news of one industry giant eating up another has left us with more questions than answers.

So far, there a few key things we know: first up – and it's a big one – Bungie’s future games won’t be PlayStation exclusive. “We want the worlds we are creating to extend to anywhere people play games,” Bungie’s Joe Blackburn and Justin Truman explained, fairly explicitly, in a blog post.

In an exclusive interview with GamesIndustry.biz, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan noted that “PlayStation is starting to go multiplatform, you’ve seen that. We have an aggressive road map with live services. And the opportunity to work with, and particularly learn from, the brilliant and talented people from Bungie... that is going to considerably accelerate the journey we find ourselves on.”

So the future Sony is looking at is multi-platform. And that means, probably, putting games on Xbox. That's a bit of a kick in the nuts towards Xbox, who has been funny about sharing its newly-gotten IP when it comes to both Activsion and Bethesda. Sure, Call of Duty will stay on PlayStation for now, but how long will that last, really?

PlayStation, meanwhile, wants games on many different devices, all providing a revenue stream that comes back to PlayStation – that's why we're seeing the company invest so heavily in PC ports of its big games, mysterious mobile studios, and even in media ventures outside of gaming. We have at least developing three movies and seven TV series based on PlayStation IP in the pipeline as we speak – that side of things is no small focus for the company.

And that's probably another reason Bungie is such an attractive partner to PlayStation, at this point. Last February, Mark Noseworthy (Vice President of the Destiny Universe) and Luke Smith (Executive Creative Director of the Destiny Universe) were promoted to "oversee and prepare for the expansion of the Destiny Universe into additional media."

The developer doubled the size of its US office and opened another one in Amsterdam to support this migration into cross-media platforms. Funnily enough, that's where Herman Hulst and a lot of PlayStation offices (hi, Guerrilla!) are based too. Funny that.

A word of warning, though: Bungie hasn't traditionally got on with people that try and boss it around. The developer has seen a lot of success since it split with Activision in 2019. The staff there also apparently enjoyed a lot of celebration when they split with Microsoft before the whole Destiny journey began, too. Will Sony succeed where other parent companies have failed? All the press releases seem to think so – thanks to a shared vision the two entities have – but we're sure everyone thought that about past relationships, too.

It's not just Destiny that Bungie is working on, either – apparently the studio is eager to release its first non-Destiny IP "before 2025", so there are some real long-term plans in the works here. Whether this is a whimsical loot game that may or may not be called Matter remains to be seen.

Check out the video up top if you're curious about what Sony and Bungie could be planning – Dorranni and I outline our hopes, dreams and concerns about the whole deal in fairly great detail. And, of course, let us know what you're thinking about this whole thing, too! For now, I'll leave you with a particularly on-the-nose meme I saw earlier today:

About the Author

Dom Peppiatt avatar

Dom Peppiatt

Features Editor

Dom is a veteran video games critic and consultant copywriter that has appeared in publications ranging from Daily Star to The Guardian. Passionate about games and the greater good they can achieve, you can usually find Dom listening to records, farting about in the kitchen, or playing Final Fantasy VIII (again).

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