Microsoft has MinecraftEpic Games has fortniteand Sony now has destiny. In a $3.6 billion deal, Sony is acquiring Bungie, the game studio famed for creating the Halo and destiny universe. This is a big deal, in a month already full of massive transactions. It’s also backed by equally important promises from Bungie regarding its independence, the future of destinyand commitments to cross-platform gaming.
Beyond destinythis agreement reveals Sony’s ambition to compete with games like fortnite alongside the steps he took to bring the PlayStation brand to multiple platforms.
The agreement itself is unusual. Bungie will retain its creative independence within Sony, self-publishing its future games despite being 100% Sony owned. Destiny 2 will remain cross-platform, so it’s not going to disappear from Xbox and become a PlayStation exclusive. Bungie even pledged to keep the game the same “no matter where you choose to play.” This probably means we won’t see an exclusive destiny strikes or weapons on PlayStation as we’ve seen in the past, thanks to an Activision and Sony deal.
Future games from Bungie will also not be exclusive to PlayStation. “We want the worlds we create to expand wherever people play games,” reads a vision blog post from Bungie’s Joe Blackburn and Justin Truman. So why is Sony paying exactly $3.6 billion?
You just have to look at the top 10 PS5 games played by Sony to see just how destiny is at PlayStation. Destiny 2 is number six on the list, based on hours played. This is a list that includes fortnite at the top and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War in second place alongside the usual FIFA and NBA annual releases. Destiny 2 is still incredibly popular on Xbox, PC, and PlayStation, even though the game is about to enter its fifth year.
Despite many destiny killers promising to compete (RIP Anthem), there is still no such thing destiny on the market. It has a unique mix of loot shooter and MMO and a PvP crucible mode that lets you show off the weapons and armor you’ve acquired over hours of grinding. Although technically free, it also has a unique revenue model. You can buy cosmetics through micro-transactions, purchase a season pass to get more unique rewards and weapons, and also buy DLC to access additional campaign content and activities like dungeons or raids.
Live game revenue is attractive for Sony. To look at Fortnite: it’s big enough to impact revenue from gaming content and services at Sony and Microsoft. We saw its impact on Xbox revenue in 2018, and court documents revealed last year that fortniteThe real cash cow is PlayStation. Sony has also invested $250 million in fortnite owner Epic Games in 2020, followed by another $200 million last year. It’s only a few percent of the overall stake, but it demonstrates the clear value Sony sees in fortnite.
destiny is not perfect, but it always had the potential to compete with fortnite for attention and the social space that has transformed fortnite in a type of metaverse for children and adults. Bungie’s big ambition with the original destiny The release was for players to freely interact in giant worlds, form fireteams in dedicated social spaces, and then team up to take on enemies in strikes, raids, and other activities. But instead of an ever-changing world like fortnite, destiny has become a growing world that has often pulled in different directions.
Destiny 2: Forsaken represented the best of destiny, with a Dreaming City world that changed every week, full of secrets to discover. Nothing in destiny has delivered quite the same magic ever since, and it often feels like the game has so much untapped potential. A bizarre gameplay exploit demonstrated this best, allowing players to have fun with 12-person raids instead of the usual restriction of just six people. It was a brief but sweet bug that demonstrated a game’s potential to further exploit the social aspects that unite millions of destiny players.
Many destiny players dream of being able to stand alongside dozens of fellow Guardians, fending off mini screebs or the countless other types of enemies designed to obliterate you. Currently, many activities are limited to three-player teams, but raids expand to six players. These limitations create an odd mix where you have to split up groups of friends when new content drops, and you never really experience constant change. destiny world with everyone.
Bungie experimented with improving these aspects live and demonstrated their ambitions to make fortnitestyle live events a few years ago. The two live seasonal events in 2020 were off to a great start, but were rather slow and disappointing. Despite its flaws, destinyThe uniqueness and smooth gunplay keep a lot of players hooked (I’ve played over 5,000 hours personally), and the franchise has a loyal fan base that regularly returns for big content like the next witch queen extension on February 22. Sony’s acquisition won’t disrupt that flow, and Bungie says its plans for Destiny 2 the content remains unchanged. “Our plans for the Light and Dark Saga are unchanged, throughout The Final Shape in 2024.”
In destiny alone, Sony gets immediate access to a game that fights for the attention of gamers who might otherwise play fortnite, Call of Duty, or many other free shooting games. It also gives Sony great cross-platform play, much like the company has dipped its toes into releasing its exclusive PlayStation games on PC.
“We’re starting to go cross-platform, you’ve seen it,” PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan says in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. “We have an aggressive roadmap with live services. And the opportunity to work with, and most importantly, learn from the bright and talented people at Bungie…it’s going to dramatically accelerate the journey we’re on.
destiny is an important acquisition for Sony, allowing the company to favor live service elements, but what could really be worth it for Sony is Bungie’s next game. Bungie happens to have a new franchise soon. Codenamed Matter, the job postings initially described the new IP as a “multiplayer action game” with “character-based” gameplay. This has led many to draw comparisons with Valorant Where Monitoringbut Bungie proved with Halo and destiny that it never does anything that looks exactly like what exists today. Bungie has made no official comment other than promising last year “to bring at least one new IP to market by 2025.”
Matter, or whatever it’s called, will be a key part of why Sony acquired Bungie. destiny will live on for many years to come and could see Sony tap into TV shows for the franchise or help deliver on Bungie’s promise of “expanding the Destiny universe into additional media.” If Bungie’s early job postings are accurate, then Matter could be the next big live service game that puts additional pressure on fortniteis dominance. It’s also easy to imagine a Bungie game with crossovers to Sony’s IP range and the potential to fill destinyThe original promises.
It’s not exclusive to Sony’s acquisition of Bungie. games like destiny thrive as they are available on multiple platforms and can connect different groups of friends in a virtual world. fortnite, Call of Dutyand destiny aren’t hugely popular because they’re locked to one platform; they are available everywhere, and that explains their success. Sony may have pushed back on cross-play and cross-platform play in the past, but it’s clear the PlayStation maker is now embracing its potential and has bigger plans for live service games.
“Philosophically, it’s not about introducing stuff into the PlayStation world,” Ryan explains. “It’s about building huge, wonderful new worlds together.”