Sony has made an interesting comment when it comes to Destiny, the live service multiplayer shooter it now owns after acquiring Bungie.
In page 7 of the document titled SONY INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT OBSERVATIONS ON THE CMA’S PROVISIONAL FINDINGS, dated March 1, 2023, Sony had this to say:
“SIE’s recent development experience of shooter/battle royale games is limited and its main active shooter franchise is significantly less impactful than Call of Duty.
Destiny, SIE’s main active first-person shooter franchise, had only [REDACTED] of the gameplay hours and [REDACTED] of the game spend of Call of Duty in 2021.”
So, Sony may be somewhat disparaging of the franchise they had very recently bought into. But it is notable that they are now talking about Destiny, or specifically, Destiny 2, in this way.
Sony had revealed at the time of the acquisition that they had big plans for Bungie, and big plans for Destiny. The deal seemed to have come with the promise that Bungie’s science fiction IP would make its way to the big screen, the little screen, or both.
If Sony isn’t necessarily confident that Destiny 2 will be big enough to challenge Call of Duty, it will still be a new major source of revenue for the company. After over a decade, Destiny definitely has its own fanbase, and that fanbase does have a real potential to become a bigger rival to Call of Duty down the line, if it truly is not there yet today.
But the other side to this declaration is Sony seeming to acknowledge that they are not as interested in their legacy multiplayer shooter IPs as much. That includes their earliest attempt at online multiplayer, SOCOM. That includes PlayStation architect Mark Cerny’s other signature franchise, the Resistance game series. That includes the Warhawk and Starhawk games, which admittedly, was not even really that close to the ballpark that Call of Duty was in. Finally, that includes Guerrilla Games key franchise before Horizon, Killzone.
Maybe Sony is just being pragmatic here, as Destiny had been such a phenomenon that it would only get huger regardless of which company snapped them up.
But then again, this doesn’t close the door to Sony revisiting these other shooters. If they did, they would probably all be live service games, but that’s what’s expected in the industry nowadays.
In any case, this does make it sound like a future where Sony didn’t have Call of Duty is one where they would rebuild with Destiny. Given the power of their marketing and promotion machine, they could actually pull it off.