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Winners and Losers: Sony buys Bungie, and Facebook’s biggest fail yet

It’s been a whirlwind of news this week but if you’re hoping to cut through the noise and get straight to the biggest stories then Winners and Losers has you covered.

The tech industry has provided a rather nice shelter against the bleaker headlines hitting several news sites this week. Last week’s bombshell announcement of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard still has us reeling, but any questions over how Sony might respond have already been answered thanks to a smaller yet impactful takeover that shows exactly where the company’s headed.

As these gaming giants get even bigger, it seems as though tech behemoth Facebook has finally reached its limits. Despite having grown to unbelievable heights since its inception, with a user base that absolutely decimates that of rival social media platforms, the company has finally found itself to be losing users for the first time in its 18-year run.

PlayStation X Bungie

Winner: Sony

Now that the dust is (very) slowly settling on Microsoft’s landmark acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it’s clear that the company has its sight set on content above all else, eager to add as many recognisable franchises to its belt after years playing catch up to Sony’s exclusive titles. Call of Duty, Overwatch, Fallout and Minecraft – all of these tentpole franchises now reside at camp Xbox, leading many to question how Sony could fare in this new world, but now we have an answer.

While clearly not a direct retaliation (these things take months, if not years), Sony announced this week that it would be buying Bungie – the original developer behind Halo that currently helms the Destiny series. On paper, Bungie seems like small potatoes compared to the wealth of properties afforded to Microsoft from Activision, but there’s more at play here than initially meets the eye.

As we now know from Sony’s latest earnings report, the company is putting a $1.2 billion scheme in place to ensure that the talent and developers current employed by Bungie are incentivised to stay on. Given just how tumultuous takeovers can be, it’s refreshing to see Sony placing just as much interest in the team at Bungie as it is in the company’s properties.

It also says a great deal that Sony will continue to support Bungie’s endeavour to release games on a multitude of consoles, as opposed to the exclusivity route.

Loser: Facebook/Meta

Despite the many scandals that have befallen Facebook over the years, the company has yet to be afflicted by anything too groundbreaking as to set its fortunes plummeting. Even the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which by any reasonable estimation would’ve been the end for smaller social media platforms, didn’t seem to affect Facebook’s profitability particularly as it’s only continued to grow in numbers since then.

Well, Facebook’s luck could finally be running out as for the first time in the company’s 18-year history, it has seen a sustained loss in active users. The loss was revealed in an earnings report released this week that showed a total of 1.929 billion users logging in each day between October and December. While still an absurdly high number, it was notable for being less than the 1.93 billion visiting the platform in the previous quarter.

The drop in users could mean that Facebook has finally reached the peak of its potential, and anything beyond this point will be an effort of maintaining the current user base and avoiding any further losses. But again, to see this happen to Facebook – which until now has appeared impervious – is a major turning point and it was enough to knock $200 million off of Meta’s market value.

With the rise of newer social media platforms like Tik Tok, it could mean that Facebook’s days in the limelight are finally numbered which, given the recent Meta rebrand and talks of a metaverse, is probably the last thing the company wants to think about right now.

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