Sony is buying Bungie, the makers of the Destiny video game and a pioneer of the early Xbox years as developer of the original Halo series of games for Microsoft.
The move comes just a couple of weeks after Microsoft continued the recent trend of concentrating ownership of illustrious video game studios by revealing an agreement to purchase Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard for almost $70 billion.
By contrast, Sony is paying $3.6 billion to acquire Bungie.
In a blog post on Monday, Bungie announced it was joining Sony Interactive Entertainment, which it called “a partner who unconditionally supports us in all we are” while enabling the developer to retain “creative independence”
The blog post reads: “Together, we share a dream of creating and fostering iconic franchises that unite friends around the world, families across generations, and fans across multiple platforms and entertainment mediums.”
Significantly, Bungie’s continued independence will ensure it’s games are available on a wide range of platforms, which is unlikely to be the case, long term, when it comes to Activision Blizzard and Bethesda properties on Xbox and Windows.
“We remain in charge of our destiny,” the post continues. “We will continue to independently publish and creatively develop our games. We will continue to drive one, unified Bungie community. Our games will continue to be where our community is, wherever they choose to play.”
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Sony taking ownership of Bungie is an eye-opening move, considering Microsoft’s storied history with the developer. It created the Halo series of games and developed the entire original trilogy, which was largely responsible for putting the original Xbox console, and its successors, on the map.
Microsoft even owned Bungie as a first-party studio between 2000-2007, before it returned to an independent entity. It ceased development of the Halo franchise, and Microsoft retained the rights. The iconic series was been taken over by 343 Industries, the first-party Microsoft studio that just released Halo Infinite.
PlayStation boss Jim Ryan added in a blog post: “I want to be very clear to the community that Bungie will remain an independent and multi-platform studio and publisher. As such, we believe it makes sense for it to sit alongside the PlayStation Studios organisation, and we are incredibly excited about the opportunities for synergies and collaboration between these two world-class groups.”