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Sony bolsters PlayStation, buying Destiny game maker Bungie for $3.6 billion

Sony's adding to its game lineup after Microsoft's high-profile purchases of game makers Bethesda and Activision Blizzard.

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Sony's latest PlayStation video game console, the PS5, has been a hit since release.
Sony

Sony has reached a deal to buy Halo creator and Destiny maker Bungie, marking an escalation of efforts for the biggest game makers to expand their lineup with some of the most popular franchises in the industry.

The agreement, confirmed Monday by both companies after an earlier Bloomberg report, brings one of the most well respected game makers in the industry under Sony's control. Bungie, which makes the online game Destiny, is also known for creating the early gaming hit Halo, which is now owned by Microsoft.

"Bungie has created two of gaming's most iconic franchises, Halo and Destiny, and has deep expertise in bringing incredible immersive experiences at great scale to the community through games that evolve and develop over time, and has a hugely impressive road map for future content," Jim Ryan, head of Sony's PlayStation division, said in a blog post Monday.

Sony didn't say how much it paid for the game maker, but Bloomberg reported the price to be $3.6 billion. The move comes after two other large game industry acquisitions this month, when Microsoft announced plans to buy Call of Duty and World of Warcraft maker Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, and Take-Two Interactive said it planned to buy FarmVille developer Zynga for $12.7 billion.

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Bungie's Destiny is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth after an alien invasion wipes out most of civilization.

Bungie

Both Sony and Bungie said the deal will allow Sony to grow its stable of immersive game worlds, while giving the Destiny maker "creative independence" that it's relied on for so long. "This is a strategic step towards continuing to evolve the gaming experiences that we build," Ryan said in his statement. "This partnership will bring inspiring new experiences to both the PlayStation community and the community that Bungie has built."

Sony and Bungie didn't immediately respond to requests for further comment.

The deal is likely to spark even more chatter in the game industry, which has seen massive purchases over games like the adventure title Fallout, the social darling Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and mobile hit Candy Crush Saga.

With Bungie, Sony is buying effectively one massive game, Destiny, as well as the developer behind it. But Bungie also represents an industry-defining developer, having created the space-age shooting game Halo, which has become a multibillion dollar franchise across games, books, TV shows, toys and more since its launch in 2001

Sony's approach with Bungie is markedly different from other acquisitions. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter noted that when Microsoft bought ZeniMax Media nearly a year and a half ago, for roughly twice Bungie's price, it also got a stable of more than a dozen popular games to add to its lineup. "I think this purchase is more panic driven than financially driven," he said.

For its part, Sony told GamesIndustry.biz that the deal had been in the works for nearly half a year, and that it plans more acquisitions in the future.