Sony buying Bungie is not a fast revenge-action to get back at Microsoft. Corporate buyouts take time, and unless Sony had info on Microsoft intending to obtain Activision Blizzard, they have something else in mind for Bungie. However, the grapevine has stated that Sony intends to obtain further game studios in the near future. This statement I would accept as a counter to MS buying ActiBlizzard, because it looks like appeasing the consumers and the stockholders.
Looking from the core game consumer standpoint it would be easy to argue that Sony buying Bungie is snapping at Microsoft, as the studio is still best known as the creator of Halo. Some praise Destiny while others dislike the title, but it has nevertheless has stayed afloat. We could assume that Sony now wants to make their Halo-killer, a lofty position that as given to numerous previous Sony-exclusive titles like Haze. Let us further assume that Microsoft does not continue multiplatform game contracts and ActiBlizzard titles will slowly but surely become Microsoft Xbox and Windows exclusive. Gaining a studio that would to American styled shooting games would be a decent counterforce. However, the two buyouts most likely were done for different reasons and probably did not have any direct relation.
Why Bungie though? Sega’s market value is about the same, so why not pick up them instead? In terms of raw franchising power, Sega would have been a better option. Capcom, Konami and even Square Enix might’ve cost a bit more, but they would have far more attractive franchises under their belts.
I think we need to look at Bungie closer. They are effectively a single-game company at the moment. Sony’s statement was that they will get knowhow on how to produce multiplatform titles and Bungie gets access to Sony’s media productions. At face value, Sony will be gaining further information and skills on developing and publishing games on other platforms other than their own, and Bungie can have their IP turned into a multimedia franchise under Sony’s wing. Destiny movie or television series is not wholly improbable, but still unlikely. It’s not the IP that Sony’s after here.
Destiny is a games-as-service type of deal and is wholly dependent on online servers and services. These titles make tons of money, which Sony will now be able to enjoy. Perhaps they want to make use of knowhow to develop a multimedia IP, driven by Bungie’s already successful model with Destiny. There is always ways to refine that model to become more profitable. I highly doubt Sony was after any Bungie’s IPs but rather their market potential in producing revenue and looking for a specific type of developer with specific set of knowhow. It just happened that Bungie probably was the easiest and the best option.
To be honest, there is very little to go on why Bungie would sell itself to Sony. However, we can be sure about the bottom line being about money. 3.6 billion dollars is not a small sum. Perhaps Bungie was hemorrhaging money somewhere and this is their way to obtain capital and production base they would not be able to secure otherwise. Bungie staying largely independent, at least for now, means Sony does not want to strangle whatever profits they are making. Hell, I would not really be surprised if they did not give a damn, what Bungie was making as long as the cash flow was coming in.
I cannot say whether Bungie is a ruined company like Blizzard is. They have not done much after Halo. Blizzard went to the shitter after World of Warcraft became a success. You could argue that there are few other corporations that changed after a significantly successful title. Post-Resident Evil Capcom might be one. Perhaps a certain turning point for Konami was the global success of Metal Gear Solid. Activision lost every resemblance of creativity for sure with their yearly Call of Duty releases.
This is more or less what we should have expected though. Sony has become more focused on the American market to the point of Japanese game consumers rejecting their modern direction. Perhaps it’s all part of Sony’s grander plan in making a cloud service and tying down a developer known for their games-as-service title. However, this is still game business as usual.