On the heels of Microsoft’s swoop for Call of Duty and Overwatch maker Activision Blizzard, Sony and PlayStation are dropping $3.6 billion to strike back with Bungie.
Microsoft sent a shot across the bow of the world of gaming and esports earlier this month when it dropped $69 billion to acquire Activision Blizzard, the company behind the Call of Duty, Warcraft, Starcraft, and Overwatch franchises.
Not to be outdone, Sony — whose PlayStation console has been locked in a market share battle with Microsoft’s Xbox for over two decades now — has responded in kind with an acquisition of its own. And for their rivals, this one hits close to home.
In a reported $3.6 billion deal, Sony is buying Bungie, the development house behind the Halo and Destiny franchises, bringing the brand under the PlayStation banner.
And it cannot be ignored that Halo is perhaps the one game series most closely associated with Xbox over the course of its existence. Every game in the franchise to date has been exclusive to Xbox consoles and Windows PCs.
“I am absolutely thrilled to announce a new member will be joining the PlayStation family! I’ve been a fan of Bungie for many years,” said Hermen Hulst, Head of PlayStation Studios. “I have admired and enjoyed the games that they create — and have great respect for their skill in building worlds that gamers want to explore again and again. Bungie makes games with outstanding technology that are enormously fun to play. They also have unmatched dedication to the communities that play their games, and everyone at PlayStation and PlayStation Studios will be excited about what we can share and learn from them.”
Compared to the broad portfolio of blockbuster IPs under Activision Blizzard’s umbrella, Bungie is a boutique operation — but one that extends out in several directions. If you watched any football this past weekend, for instance, you saw advertisements for the upcoming Halo television series on Paramount+.
“I have spent a great deal of time with the senior team at Bungie and it is clear their experience and skills are highly complementary to our own,” Hulst said. “We will be ready to welcome and support Bungie as they continue to grow, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this incredible team.”
As part of the deal, Sony has ensured that Bungie will retain its independence as a studio and a publisher. But the extent to which this is a reorganization of the natural order of the video game world should not be underestimated.