By March 2026, Sony plans to release ten live service games, and it’s official, as the company announced in its financial report.
Bungie was acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment (for $3.6 billion). The team will have a role to play but don’t forget that The Last of Us Factions mode is being made into something standalone, the trio of Deviation Games, Haven, Firewalk Studios are working on something else, but Insomniac Games, Guerrilla Games, FireSprite, and Sony’s London studio could also contribute to the ten. We should note here that Sony has lowered its expectations for PlayStation 5. It had a target of 22.5 million PlayStation 5s in the fiscal year from April last year to the end of March this year but has slashed that to 19.3 million. Here’s the official reasoning: “Sales are expected to be lower than the October forecast due to an expected decrease in PlayStation 5 hardware unit sales, primarily due to shortages in the supply of components, especially semiconductors. Operating income is expected to be higher than the October forecast due to an expected decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses.”
Bungie’s value is not far behind SEGA ($3.8 billion) and Square Enix ($5.8 billion), so they could be next in the acquisition frenzy, which could bring surprises later this year. According to Karol Severin, senior analyst and product manager at MIDiA Research, Sony could positively move both parties by acquiring Bungie. “When assessing whether this was a good use of $3.6bn, the company fundamentals are of course important, but you also need to consider any strategic premium (benefits) in terms of where this acquisition can take PlayStation’s in the mid-term future, in the way of synergies.
PlayStation is going after live services, which Bungie has a lot of expertise in. Sony has to go after live-service more aggressively than ever before, given the traction in the gaming space and the model being increasingly offered to and adopted by consumers. The multi-platform decision will be in a similar tune. Multiplatform is becoming table stakes, so it’s right for Sony to pursue, to minimise competitive pressures from others and maximise revenue potential.
As I said many times in the past, though – Xbox’s future is cross-platform, PlayStation’s future is cross-entertainment. PS is following the market in terms of cross-platform. Still, it can lead in terms of drawing synergies for gaming from across entertainment (in video, music, sports and social in particular).
Bungie’s live services expertise will likely contribute to that journey. As per GamesIndustry.Biz interview, Jim Ryan (SIE CEO) says: “Philosophically, this isn’t about pulling things into the PlayStation world. This is about building huge and wonderful new worlds together.” Lastly, despite Destiny 2 being the critical current title, Bungie is, of course, no one-hit-wonder. It stood behind the creation of Halo, and even though it no longer owns it, it does count towards its track record of producing hits with longevity. If Bungie can continue this success in the future, help Sony grow live-services communities, and contribute to activating Sony’s cross-entertainment potential, the deal could prove to be very lucrative for both sides,” Severin wrote.
And Ryan highlighted that further acquisitions could follow Bungie…