Why did Sony buy Bungie?

Why did Sony buy Bungie?

Acquisitions usually leave room for many doubts and open many questions, which are answered only with the passage of time. Think how many times we've wondered if Bethesda's games would become Xbox exclusives after the Microsoft acquisition or, more recently, how many analyzes have been produced to make sense of Microsoft's multibillion-dollar acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The latest twist on the market, on the other hand, appears really clear in its objectives. It's still worth asking why Sony bought Bungie, even if the answers are pretty much all in the official announcements.

The signs of the acquisition

The acquisition of Bungie was not a response to that of Activision Blizzard Before moving on, let's clarify one point: the acquisition of Bungie is not the answer of Sony at the Microsoft / Activision Blizzard deal. At least it is not the direct consequence. Agreements like this take months, if not years, to be perfected and arise from long planning, certainly not from the mood of the moment. That Bungie was on the market was also known from at least October 2020, when a Corporation Service Company agent appeared in the company's file on opencorporates.com, that is, a "third-party mediation figure who deals with legal procedures in cases of acquisitions or sales. . "At that time it was thought of an interest from Microsoft, due to the past proximity between the two companies, but at this point it is likely that Sony had already come forward by then. At the time we wrote about it that "to have some certainty, a more in-depth investigation should be carried out (probably not even possible, unless you know someone inside Bungie). Microsoft (Bungie may have reached a deal with someone else). "In a way we can say that we were forward-thinking and today we finally knew what was going on behind the scenes.

The facts

The creators of the Halo series have moved to PlayStation Studios To the general amazement, yesterday Sony announced the acquisition of Bungie for 3.6 billion dollars. Wondering why the studio that created the Halo series became part of the PlayStation world would be a bit like wondering why the studio that owns the Crash Bandicoot IP is about to become part of the Xbox world. These are simply high-level economic agreements that ignore shop issues or the affections of some gamers, who have little value on the market. It is not a question of jersey, but of money. The truly amazing part of the whole thing is the extreme clarity with which Sony has illustrated the situation, stating that after the acquisition Bungie will remain an independent subsidiary, that it will have total creative freedom, that it will continue to self-publish its games and that it will the latter will remain cross-platform. It almost seems that Sony wanted to address mainly investors, as if to reassure them about the reasons for such a huge expense, therefore to gamers.

In this sense, the press release used expressions very similar to those used by executives Xbox to comment on the opening of Microsoft's ecosystem to all possible platforms, naturally at the time of the relative announcements.

Sony and Bungie therefore want to "reach players wherever they choose to play". Jim Ryan, Sony's president, clarified the matter even more on the PlayStation Blog: "Bungie's achievements in cross-platform publishing and live service games will help us realize our ambitions to take PlayStation beyond consoles and grow our own. potential audience. "

Not happy, he then reiterated that Bungie:" will remain independent and cross-platform, will have creative freedom and its successes in developing and launching highly successful franchises in the sci-fi shooter genre will complement the portfolio intellectual property of Sony. "The vision of expanding the PlayStation ecosystem beyond consoles and into a new and wider audience was also supported by a message from Hermen Hulst, the head of PlayStation Studios, who wrote with Equal Clarity: “I think Bungie's entry into the PlayStation family will increase the capabilities of PlayStation Studios and Bun gie, and will realize our vision of expanding PlayStation to hundreds of millions of players. As game authors, this has always been our goal: to bring our vision to as many people as possible. "

Destiny 2 is a hugely successful live service Bungie is so determined to make it clear that it won't be producing PlayStation exclusives, that it published a Q&A session immediately following the announcement, in which the Question: "Bungie is developing new games, will they become PlayStation exclusives? "the answer was" No. We want the worlds we create to go wherever people play. We will continue to self-publish and be creatively independent and continue to lead a single Bungie community. "

Sony boarding

No exclusives, only cross-platform games: Bungie will continue with its philosophy So, why acquire Bungie? Easy: Sony wants to strengthen where it is weakest, ie in live service sector and to do so it has focused on one of the most knowledgeable studios on the subject, which is not only already managing a successful GaaS (Destiny 2), but which also has others in preparation and therefore has extensive experience Ryan's words on the subject leave no room for debate: "Bungie has created two of the world's most iconic franchises, Halo and Destiny, and has a great ability to give the community an incredibly large-scale experience. engaging, through games that develop and evolve over time. "

In summary: Sony has acquired Bungie because it is considering expanding its potential user base beyond PS4 and PS5</a>, and wants to have the right products and know-how to take on what is still a very sector. difficult, where moreover his studios have little experience. This is why he will use Bungie not only for games, but to create synergies with the other PlayStation Studios, so as to reduce the risks. But let's broaden the discussion: in recent weeks there has been a lot of talk about Spartacus, what should be Sony's new subscription service which, according to rumors, will merge the PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus subscriptions.

Bungie has several IPs, but currently only the Destiny one is active on the market It will probably not be the exclusive prerogative of the PlayStation consoles but, like the Xbox Game Pass, it will also point to other platforms. We imagine that the PC will be 100% supported, since it is already supported by the PS N ow, but other platforms such as mobile may also be added to the group. In this perspective, Bungie and its titles would become a very strong lever, because they would attract a different audience than the one that PlayStation Studios games usually target and because they would expand the PlayStation ecosystem beyond its current borders, which are so vast. , but still limited compared to the market as a whole.

In fact, Sony's is a move that no one expected, which however becomes logical in view of the company's desire to expand as much as possible into different sectors , in particular that of services, following the model of Microsoft.

Jim Ryan, the president of Sony, was very clear about this acquisition. This is why the stock market reacted immediately to the news, increasing the value of Sony's shares by 4%: after years of waiting, However, due to the undeniable successes in the console sector, investors have finally seen a tangible sign of the Japanese multinational's willingness to embrace sectors that can no longer be ignored, because the traditional model becomes increasingly difficult to sustain, therefore increasingly risky. So it's no paradox to say that Bungie was acquired to continue making Bungie within the PlayStation ecosystem.

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