Sony have responded to Microsoft’s wave of studio purchases with their own deal, announced today, to buy Bungie, the studio behind the Destiny game series. The deal, which will see Sony pay $3.6B for the studio, and was first reported in GamesIndustry.biz, interestingly keep Bungie as a multi-platform studio, rather than move Destiny to become a Playstation exclusive.
The sale wraps up a January like no other for the gaming industry, with over $80B spent between a number of huge companies. Take Two’s purchase of Zynga for $12.7B kicked off the action, before Microsoft waded into the action with their $68B purchase of Activision Blizzard. By contrast, Bungie’s sale looks cheap but is over $1B more expensive than the $2.5B deal between Microsoft and Minecraft studio Mojang.
The move is somewhat ironic, given that Bungie were one of the major reasons Xbox succeeded in the first place, having created the iconic Halo series. The first Halo game, Combat Evolved, was purchased alongside more than half of all the original consoles sold, with Halo 3 setting a record (at the time) for highest-grossing opening day for any game made.
Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan told GamesIndustry.biz, "This is an important step in our strategy to expand the reach of PlayStation to a much wider audience. We understand how vital Bungie's community is to the studio and look forward to supporting them as they remain independent and continue to grow.”
Ryan also told GamesIndustry.biz the following, which may hint at a future where Destiny is pushed toward a different gaming paradigm, something a lot of players are not that keen on with publishers pushing pay-to-earn models: "The way people play games has changed a lot over the last few years. We have created some wonderful properties over the course of the last 25 years, with characters that people love and resonate the world over."
"Offering the opportunity to enjoy those experiences in a completely different way is something that we are very excited about," he went on. "I can't go into details today, but we have a really amazing roadmap on how to do that.” As the deal will apparently see Destiny remain on multiple platforms it is unlikely to create an escalation in the ongoing "console wars" between Microsoft and Sony, but it does give the PlayStation makers some leverage over a relatively valuable IP should that occur.