If you can’t beat them, join them. Sony just announced that it will buy Bungie, a studio best known for its work on the Halo franchise. The acquisition feels like an intentional clap-back at Microsoft, which keeps gobbling up talented studios like Bethesda, and more recently, Activision Blizzard.
Update, 5/6/22: As reported by The Information, Sony’s offer to purchase Bungie is now under the scrutiny of the FTC. We doubt that the FTC will block this deal—investigations into giant acquisitions are quite common.
That said, it’s clear that the U.S. government is concerned about monopolitstic and anti-competitive practices within the tech industry. The FTC isn’t just looking at Sony—it’s also investigating Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, for example.
In its press release for the $3.6 billion deal, Sony says that Bungie will remain an independent subsidiary of Sony Interactive Entertainment. Bungie CEO Pete Parsons is still at the reigns of the company, and says that Bungie will “continue to independently publish and creatively develop games.”
Bungie has limitless potential to unite friends around the world.
We have found a partner in PlayStation that shares our dream and is committed to accelerating our creative vision of building generation-spanning entertainment.
Our journey begins today.https://t.co/PLuVn48zdy pic.twitter.com/kAhRbAg3vD
— Bungie (@Bungie) January 31, 2022
Additionally, a Bungie FAQ flatly states that future games will not be PlayStation exclusives. The acquisition will have zero impact on existing titles, such as Destiny 2, and Bungie games will continue to offer multi-platform online support. (And just to clarify, Microsoft owns Halo. This deal has no impact on the Halo franchise.)
It’s an odd move for Sony, which usually relies on exclusive games to drive PlayStation sales. But generally speaking, Microsoft allows its newly-acquired studios to publish games outside of the Xbox and PC. We’re not sure if this strategy is beneficial to the companies’ long-term plans or if it’s just a simple way of avoiding regulatory action.
I should note that Microsoft usually buys new studios to bolster its Game Pass lineup. Perhaps Sony has a similar plan in mind, as it’s currently working to overhaul its PlayStation Now and Plus services.