What Sony buying Bungie means for PlayStation 5 gamers - what games does it make, and will Halo come to PS5?

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There’s been another high-profile acquisition in the gaming world - but don’t expect too much to change

Just a couple of weeks after Microsoftpaid 68.7 billion dollars (£50.5 billion) for Activision Blizzard, the maker of Candy Crush and Call Of Duty, another lucrative acquisition has rocked the gaming world.

This time it is Sony who have been flexing their financial muscles, and have scooped up legendary developer Bungie, who will now fall under the PlayStation Studios.

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But what does that mean for fans of the studio’s games on other platforms, like Xbox?

Here is everything you need to know about it.

What is Bungie?

Bungie is an American video game developer established in 1991 in Chicago, but is now based in Washington state.

In its early years, the company concentrated on games for Apple’s Macintosh computers, and created two successful video game franchises in ‘Marathon’ and ‘Myth’.

But the studio really found its stride in 2000, when it was acquired by Microsoft and its project Halo: Combat Evolved was repurposed as a launch title for the first Xbox console.

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Halo became the Xbox's killer app, selling millions of copies and spawning the Halo franchise - Bungie would go on to create a total of five critically acclaimed games for the series.

In 2010, Bungie signed a ten-year publishing deal with Activision. Its first project under the new terms was 2014 first-person shooter, Destiny, which was followed by Destiny 2 in 2017.

Bungie is perhaps best known for creating the Halo series of video games (Image: Microsoft Game Studios)Bungie is perhaps best known for creating the Halo series of video games (Image: Microsoft Game Studios)
Bungie is perhaps best known for creating the Halo series of video games (Image: Microsoft Game Studios) | Microsoft Game Studios

While Bungie had previously exclusively developed games for Microsoft, under the Activision banner, the Destiny games were released across both Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation consoles.

In 2019, it was announced Bungie was ending its partnership with Activision, and would continue to independently publish Destiny for itself.

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How much did Sony pay for Bungie?

“Bungie makes games with outstanding technology that are enormously fun to play,” said Hermen Hulst, Head of PlayStation Studios, explaining Sony’s intentions in purchasing the studios.

“I’ve been a fan of Bungie for many years,” he added. “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.”

The deal itself is reported to have been worth 3.6 billion dollars (£2.7 billion).

That’s nothing compared to the vast amount of money paid by Microsoft for Activision.

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But GamesIndustry.biz's Chris Dring has said that Sony's acquisition of Bungie isn't a reaction to the Xbox deal; it has been in the works for “five/six months”.

Will Bungie games be PlayStation exclusives?

(Photo: YELIM LEE/AFP via Getty Images) (Photo: YELIM LEE/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo: YELIM LEE/AFP via Getty Images) | Getty Images

Following Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, many fans of the latter company’s biggest multi-platform franchises - like Call of Duty - were concerned that future games in the series would only appear on Xbox consoles, effectively blocking PlayStation fans from playing.

While it’s since been confirmed that existing multi-platform deals will still be honoured, what exactly the Microsoft deal means for players not in the Xbox ecosystem remains murky.

PlayStation have taken note, with Jim Ryan - President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment - quick to clear up any confusion.

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Indeed, in the first paragraph of a blog post announcing the takeover, Ryan says: “I want to be very clear to the community that Bungie will remain an independent and multi-platform studio and publisher.”

“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,” he added.

What does it mean for Destiny and Bungie fans?

So it seems that Bungie’s games will still be coming to consoles other than those branded ‘PlayStation’ in the future.

But it is possible that future games from the studio could become “timed” exclusives.

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That means that they may only be available on PlayStation consoles in the first instance, but after a span of time - which could be as long as a year - will be released on other platforms. This is unconfirmed, however.

“We want the worlds we are creating to extend to anywhere people play games,” Bungie said in a message posted on its official website.

Bungie CEO Pete Parsons added: “With Sony’s support, the most immediate change you will see is an acceleration in hiring talent across the entire studio to support our ambitious vision.”

“We will continue to independently publish and creatively develop our games. We will continue to drive one, unified Bungie community. Our games will continue to be where our community is, wherever they choose to play.”

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Will Halo come to PlayStation?

While Bungie created the Halo franchise, and worked on the series’ first five games, the deal with Sony will not see the Master Chief making his way to PlayStation consoles.

That’s because Microsoft’s still retains ownership of the Halo franchise’s intellectual property (IP) - the Halo games remain a major feather in the Xbox consoles’ caps.

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