Sony bought Bungie for $3.6 billion in a groundbreaking deal announced today (Jan. 31). And while many expect Sony to lock Bungie games like Destiny 2 to the PS5, the Tokyo-based company insists that it plans to do the opposite.
Destiny and Bungie’s currently-in-development new IP will be multiplatform titles, said PlayStation head Jim Ryan in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. Moreover, the Bungie deal is part of Sony’s larger strategy to offer large, multiplatform live service online games.
"I've been on record talking about increasing the size of the PlayStation community, and expanding beyond our historic console heartland,” Ryan said in the interview, which covers Sony's ambitious plans. “This can take many forms. And definitely one of the main ones is the ability for the wonderful games that we've been making over the past 25 years to be enjoyed in different places and played in different ways. We are starting to go multiplatform, you've seen that.”
In recent years, Sony has ported PlayStation titles like Days Gone, Horizon Zero Dawn, Death Stranding and God of War to PC. That has helped bring those one-time exclusives beyond PlayStation’s borders, but they are all single-player experiences. Multiplayer titles like Destiny will help fill a glaring void in the company’s repertoire of titles. Keeping Destiny and any other future Bungie offerings multiplatform will ensure their success beyond PlayStation’s ecosystem.
Ryan also acknowledges that the gaming industry has changed in recent years. Console and individual game sales were once the sole metric for success. Now, thanks to services like Xbox Game Pass, there has been an increased demand (and expectation) for subscription services that allow people to play on numerous devices.
"The way people play games has changed a lot over the last few years,” Ryan said. “We have created some wonderful properties over the course of the last 25 years, with characters that people love and resonate the world over. Offering the opportunity to enjoy those experiences in a completely different way is something that we are very excited about. I can't go into details today, but we have a really amazing roadmap on how to do that.”
Regarding live service titles, Ryan said that, instead of Sony creating its own live service game (or games) from scratch, it made more sense to let Bungie be the spearhead of such an initiative due to the studio’s expertise with such titles.
"I would back us to do [live-service games] ourselves," Ryan added. "But when you have the potential to have a partner like Bungie who has been there, done it all before, learned the lessons and have got this wonderful, brilliant team who is there and has the potential to help us... we think we can take something that would have taken a certain number of years, and significantly decrease the time it will take to get it right."
Though Sony doesn’t have the same deep pockets as Microsoft, it has no plans to stop buy companies.
"We should absolutely expect more," Ryan said. "We are by no means done. With PlayStation, we have a long way to go. I will personally be spending a lot of my time with Pete [Parsons] and the team at Bungie, helping make sure that everything beds down right and that autonomy means autonomy. But elsewhere in the organization, we have many more moves to make."
Today’s announcement marks a shift in Sony’s gaming strategy. Though it will certainly continue pushing people toward PS5 and its exclusives, the company is also aware of the current gaming landscape and is adjusting accordingly. With Project Spartacus reportedly being PlayStation’s answer to Xbox Game Pass, the Bungie deal could make that subscription service that much more enticing.
Sony also unveiled its quarterly forecast, and while the company as a whole is doing well, it's having trouble producing more PS5s. A live-service shift could be helpful to Sony's long-term strategy, especially if it's less dependent on physical hardware.
It’s still too early to tell how things will pan out with Bungie and Sony, but we’ll keep you posted as this story develops.