PlayStation announced they are buying Bungie, the studio that developed Halo and Destiny, for $3.6 billion.
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Close to two weeks after Microsoft announced they were acquiring Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced their own acquisition of Bungie.
In a press release, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) detailed the original Halo and Destiny developer will offer their “world-class approach to live game services and technology expertise” to Sony, but nonetheless will continue to operate independently, run by its Board of Directors and managers. This independence means it will also maintain the “ability to self-publish rand reach players wherever they choose to play.”
Bungie will continue to develop Destiny 2 and expand the series’ universe, but will produce original IP in the future. “Both Bungie and SIE believe that game worlds are only the beginning of what our IP will become” said Bungie CEO and Chairman Pete Parsons.
“Our original universes have immense potential and, with SIE’s support,” Parsons notes, “we will propel Bungie into becoming a global multi-media entertainment company dedicated to delivering on our creative vision.”
President & CEO of SIE Jim Ryan stated “Bungie’s successful track record in multi-format publishing and live game services will assist us in realizing our ambitions to take PlayStation beyond the console and increase our potential audience.”
Reiterating that Bungie will remain independent and multi-platform, Ryan emphasizes the developers will “enjoy creative freedom, and their track record in developing massively successful franchises in the sci-fi shooter genre will be highly complementary to SIE’s own IP portfolio.”
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In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Ryan explained how Bungie’s ability to make multiplatform live-service games was something PlayStation desired.
“Pete and I have spent a lot of time talking, and we were struck by how similarly we see the world, and just how complementary our two organisations are,” Ryan stated. “We’re like two pieces of jigsaw that can slot together.”
“They make massive, immersive games that have no end,” Ryan boasted. “Whereas PlayStation’s strength, as you know, is in the single-player, narrative-rich, stories. Our studios make those games and they are some of the best games you’ll find anywhere.”
Discussing PlayStation “expanding beyond our historic console heartland,” Ryan discussed how they had started multiplatform releases, and “have an aggressive road map with live services.” As such, Bungie have a lot to offer PlayStation.
“The opportunity to work with, and particularly learn from, the brilliant and talented people from Bungie,” Ryan explained, “that is going to considerably accelerate the journey we find ourselves on.”
Likewise, Parsons told GamesIndustry.biz Bungie’s plans for expanding their IP to other entertainment mediums such as film and TV had been aided thanks to the acquisition.
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“We saw this great opportunity to build- not just Destiny, we’re working on more than Destiny-” Parsons clarifies, “these great interactive experiences, which we think we’re good at. But also being able to explore these worlds even more.”
Briefly discussing recent allegations of Bungie employees claiming to have endured racism, sexism, abusive managers, and Bungie’s subsequent apology; Ryan stated it was “an area that Sony takes incredibly seriously.”
While PlayStation hold high standards and Ryan has been “incredibly sensitive to,” he states he has “been nothing but impressed, and I have nothing but the highest praise for the way that Bungie organises and conducts itself.”
Parsons added that both PlayStation and Bungie have been transparent with one another, and that he is “extremely proud of the work that we are doing to create a thriving, inclusive environment for people. And we’re going to continue to do that. We will build, learn and grow.”
In spite of Microsoft’s recent acquisition, Take-Two proposing their own acquisition of Zynga, Ryan insisted this was not any form of response to those other deals.
“These conversations have been a number of months in gestation, and certainly pre-date the activity that we have seen this year,” Ryan states.
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“From our perspective, this is really doing what we feel is right for PlayStation,” Ryan explains “and what we feel is the right thing to do to drive PlayStation to places we’ve never been before.”
Parsons added, “This had nothing to do with industry consolidation,” highlighting how Sony believed and would support Bungie’s philanthropy. “This had everything to do with a shared vision and how we could do things better together.”
Hermen Hulst, Head of PlayStation Studios, explained how over the past year PlayStation Studios have 17 developers under their belt; this includes Insomniac Games, Naughty Dog, Media Molecule, Sucker Punch Productions, Housemarque, and Bluepoint Games.
“New additions will help us extend the reach of our IP, develop exciting new games, and further leverage the technical capabilities of PS5 through knowledge sharing and collaboration,” Hulst explained.
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