Sony is acquiring Bungie, the studio that helped catapult the original Xbox into a viable PlayStation competitor, in a $3.6 billion deal, the two companies announced on Monday. The news comes just two weeks after Microsoft announced its nearly $70 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard.
Bungie was originally acquired by Microsoft in 2000, ahead of the release of Halo: Combat Evolved for the first Xbox console the following year. Bungie later split from Microsoft to develop independent games, including its Halo follow-up Destiny and a sequel called Destiny 2. The Destiny series was developed in partnership with Activision Blizzard, a publishing arrangement Bungie eventually walked away from in 2019 after receiving an independent investment of $100 million from Chinese gaming giant NetEase.
Now, Bungie is joining the PlayStation family at a time of unprecedented consolidation in the video game industry and amid an especially competitive era for console makers, as Microsoft and Sony take aggressive action to beef up their respective content libraries to sell a new generation of hardware and strengthen their software and services ecosystems. In a surprising twist, however, terms of the deal apparently allow for Bungie to continue developing multiplatform games and "to self-publish and reach players wherever they choose to play," Sony said in a statement to GamesIndustry.biz.
"We've had a strong partnership with Bungie since the inception of the Destiny franchise, and I couldn't be more thrilled to officially welcome the studio to the PlayStation family," PlayStation chief Jim Ryan said in a statement. "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. Like Bungie, our community is core to PlayStation's DNA, and our shared passion for the gamer and building the best place to play will now evolve even further."
Bungie is currently working on a brand-new game, but it has said very little about the product so far. The company's next Destiny 2 expansion, The Witch Queen, launches next month. "We want the worlds we are creating to extend to anywhere people play games. We will continue to be self-published, creatively independent, and we will continue to drive one, unified Bungie community," wrote Bungie execs Joe Blackburn and Justin Truman in a blog post published on Tuesday.