Sony dropped a bombshell yesterday when the company announced that it would be acquiring Bungie for $3.6 billion. The announcement came as a shock to many, particularly as Bungie is most famous for creating Microsoft’s flagship franchise, Halo. Speaking after the announcement, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan said that gamers “should expect more” acquisitions from Sony.
Sony’s acquisition of Bungie was seen by many fans as a response to Microsoft’s monolithic acquisition of Activision. However, Jim Ryan confirmed that was not the case and that the deal had been in the works for the past 5-6 months. The timing of Sony’s acquisition of Bungie appears to be coincidental so it will be interesting to see if Sony does have any acquisitions planned as a response to Microsoft’s purchase of Activision.
Due to financial regulations, Jim Ryan can’t give any details on which companies Sony might be looking at acquiring. According to analysts at Enders Analysis, Sony could be looking at buying Electronic Arts. EA is currently valued at around $37 billion which they also say could be a bit much for Sony to stomach. Cheaper alternatives put forward were Ubisoft or Take-Two which ‘only’ have market caps of $7.3 billion and $18.8 billion respectively.
Sony can’t win a war of acquisitions against Microsoft. Microsoft is worth 16x more than Sony. The purchase of Activision alone is equivalent to more than half of Sony’s entire value. However, one strategy for Sony could be to make multiple purchases like Bungie that, when added together, bring a stable of exclusives to PlayStation that the consoles wouldn’t have otherwise had. Sony already has experience with this strategy. The company bought Insomniac Games in 2019 for just $229 million. As the developer of Sony’s exclusive Spider-Man games, Insomniac is now arguably the strongest studio that Sony owns. If Sony uses Bungie to create a AAA exclusive FPS with the same level of quality as Destiny, Call of Duty becoming an Xbox exclusive may not matter as much to PlayStation as it did last week.