The US Federal Trade Commission is trying to dig deeper into the business of the games industry and is investigating the deal between Sony and Bungie.
In recent months, there have been some interesting and significant acquisitions in the games industry. First, Microsoft announced it was buying Activision Blizzard, adding the publishers of World of Warcraft and Call of Duty to its growing list of big developers. Most recently, some of Square Enix’s western studios have been bought up by media conglomerate Embracer Group, including Crystal Dynamics, developer of Tomb Raider. In between these two announcements was a deal between Sony and Bungie where the latter would be bought for around $3.6 billion.
Despite some fans already wondering what kind of PlayStation-exclusive project Bungie could be cooking up, the deal has yet to materialise. It seems that the acquisition will also have to clear a few hurdles before it goes through, as the US Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, is investigating the deal. The FTC has previously investigated Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard for insider trading.
The FTC’s investigation into Sony’s Bungie deal is not based on suspicions of insider trading or the size of the acquisition. Rather, the FTC’s investigations into Microsoft and Sony’s deals reflect a more aggressive stance against mergers between large technology companies, probably in an attempt to crack down on monopolies in the games industry. In revealing the investigation into the Microsoft acquisition, FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan said that corporate consolidation “can cause a range of harms”, including lower wages, higher prices and reduced innovation.
It is unknown whether the Bungie deal is under investigation for similar reasons. Many believe that the Sony acquisition could support innovation, as the owner of the PlayStation platform will help the Destiny developer expand into other media. Some even speculate that a Destiny animated series or movie could be in the works following a new job announcement at Bungie. It also appears that Sony will largely leave the developer to make the game on its own after the former spent an additional $1.2 billion to keep Bungie staff on the job after the deal.