FTC To Review Microsoft Activision Buy, As Sony Acquires Bungie

The gaming sector has witnessed more developments this week, after it emerged that Sony is to buy video game maker Bungie for $3.6 billion.

Washington state-based Bungie is best perhaps known for having developed the Destiny and Halo games – two of the biggest games for rival Microsoft’s Xbox gaming platform.

Meanwhile it has been reported that Microsoft’s surprise $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the publisher responsible for Call Of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Starcraft, will reportedly be reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission.

The PlayStation 5. Image credit: Sony

Bungie purchase

Bungie is veteran game developer, having been founded back in 1991, but now it is being acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE).

And in a strange twist of fate, Bungie had actually been acquired by Microsoft way back in 2000, but span out from Microsoft in 2007.

Bungie is responsible for the Halo first person shooter games, and Microsoft even used one of its characters (Cortana) as the name for its discounted personal voice assistant.

Microsoft Shuts Down Cortana Consumer Features

Halo for the record is now managed by Microsoft-owned 343 Industries.

Now in the acquisition announcement, SIE said the Bungie purchase will give it “access to Bungie’s world-class approach to live game services and technology expertise, furthering SIE’s vision to reach billions of players. ”

“Bungie has created and continues to evolve some of the world’s most beloved videogame franchises and, by aligning its values with people’s desire to share gameplay experiences, they bring together millions of people around the world,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman, president and CEO, Sony Group.

“As part of our Purpose to ‘fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology’, we will utilize the Sony Group’s diverse array of entertainment and technology assets to support further evolution of Bungie and its ability to create iconic worlds across multiple platforms and media,” said Yoshida.

Bungie implied that it would continue to develop its games for all platforms.

“We will continue pursuing our vision of one, unified Bungie community, building games that value our community and meet them wherever and however they choose to play,” said Pete Parsons, CEO and Chairman, Bungie. “

Both Bungie and SIE believe that game worlds are only the beginning of what our IP will become. Our original universes have immense potential and, with SIE’s support, we will propel Bungie into becoming a global multi-media entertainment company dedicated to delivering on our creative vision.”

Post-acquisition, Bungie will be an independent subsidiary of Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Antitrust review

Meanwhile Microsoft’s major expansion of its gaming credentials with the $69 billion purchase of Activision will reviewed for antitrust matters, Bloomberg reported.

That acquisition signals how mainstream gaming has now become, with three billion people actively playing games today.

This number has been helped by global lockdowns triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well new technologies such as the metaverse, virtual reality, and cloud streaming.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will reportedly will investigate whether the takeover will harm competition.

It comes as US and indeed regulators around the world have become increasingly concerned at the scale of acquisition within the tech industry, with big name players instantly entering and then dominating individual sectors via acquisition.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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