How Sony’s Bungie Buy Fits Into Its Larger PlayStation Plans

By | February 3, 2022

January couldn’t end with at least one more massive gaming acquisition it seems. Just a few short weeks after Xbox’s industry-shaking announcement of its plans to acquire Activision Blizzard, Sony has announced its decision to purchase Destiny developer Bungie; not as massive, but nonetheless monumental.

Immediately after the news, there was a lot of chatter framing it as an immediate, knee-jerk counter to Xbox, as if the two publishing giants were playing a game of tennis. Instead, I see Sony’s acquisition of Bungie as a clear encapsulation of Sony’s ambitions for the PlayStation brand we have seen over the last few years, and will likely only continue to see as the years progress.

Sony’s Acquisitions History

Before Bungie, Sony’s biggest acquisition was, arguably, bringing Insomniac Games in-house in 2019. But there have been less prolific moves made that speak to a bigger plan, and we can sort them into a few different buckets. Firstly, Sony has been concentrating on sealing the deal with studios it has a long history with to guarantee a steady stream of exclusives, like Insomniac, but more recently Returnal devs Housemarque, the makers of the Demon’s Souls remake, Bluepoint Games, and Firesprite, a studio founded by former Studio Liverpool leads that is already proving to be a big PSVR asset. These purchases are key to assuaging any fan’s concerns: even as PlayStation moves into new spaces, it is by no means giving up on the cinematic and action-focused exclusives that have come to define it.

Secondly, it’s focusing on deals with teams that can help bolster and support PlayStation’s brand both on and off PlayStation platforms, like Nixxes Software and Valkyrie Entertainment. Nixxes is well known for its PC porting prowess (the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex games for Square Enix), and Valkyrie has been supporting Sony studios already with both development on God of War 2018 and God of War Ragnarok. As PlayStation looks to PC as a new avenue for its games, Nixxes can help ensure the quality of those ports, while Valkyrie can assist teams in-house with developing their games and, hopefully, stave off delays or dry spells in the release calendar. Thirdly, it’s made a series of exclusivity deals, which is nothing new for Sony – after all, we’re expecting Forspoken and Ghostwire Tokyo among other console exclusives this year. But the most interesting of the bunch are its deals to actually publish games by new, independent studios headed by veteran talent: Firewalk Studios, Deviation Games, and Haven Studios.

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