Sony snaps up Halo creator Bungie for $3.6bn to take on Microsoft

1 Feb 2022

Image: Sony

The move comes just a few weeks after Microsoft’s major play in the gaming sector.

Sony, the world’s largest video game company, is to acquire US game developer Bungie for $3.6bn.

This comes less than two weeks after Microsoft announced the biggest gaming acquisition in history, snapping up Activision Blizzard in a deal worth nearly $70bn that would make it the world’s third-largest video game company.

Bungie is a big name in the gaming industry, having created titles such as Halo and Destiny. It will join the Sony PlayStation family of studios following the acquisition, but remain independent and multi-platform.

“Bungie’s world-class expertise in multi-platform development and live game services will help us deliver on our vision of expanding PlayStation to hundreds of millions of gamers,” said Jim Ryan, president and chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment, in a statement.

PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst added that he is “absolutely thrilled” to welcome a new member to the family of studios and that he has been “a fan of Bungie for many years”.

“I have admired and enjoyed the games that they create – and have great respect for their skill in building worlds that gamers want to explore again and again. Bungie makes games with outstanding technology that are enormously fun to play,” he said.

‘We must bet big on our vision’

Based in Bellevue, Washington, Bungie was established in 1991 and was acquired by Microsoft in 2000. During this time, Halo became one of the most popular games on the Xbox, selling in the millions and starting the Halo franchise. Bungie split from Microsoft in 2007, but the software giant retained the Halo brand.

Soon after, Bungie signed a 10-year publishing deal with Activision Blizzard, during which time Destiny and Destiny 2 were released – two massively popular games.

Pete Parsons, chief executive of Bungie, said Sony “unconditionally supports us in all we are” and wants to “accelerate our vision to create generation-spanning entertainment” while preserving Bungie’s creative independence.

“We believe games have limitless potential, and that to do anything worthwhile in entertainment, we must bet big on our vision, on our studio, and on our incredible team of trusted creators who build unforgettable worlds that truly matter to people,” he said in a statement.

Parsons added that after the acquisition, hiring talent will be top of the agenda for Bungie.

Will McKeon-White, an analyst at Forrester, said the acquisition is a “prudent move” by Sony Interactive Entertainment and will “bring more developers with a proven record of delivering popular titles” under the PlayStation banner.

Sony’s acquisition of Bungie, which was announced yesterday (31 January), marked the end of a record month for gaming mergers and acquisitions. As well as Microsoft revealing plans to buy Activision Blizzard, Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two said it was acquiring Zynga for $12.7bn.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic