Following a blockbuster deal with Sony, Bungie has committed to multiplatform releases, granting non-PlayStation gamers a huge sigh of relief.
A developer that has been so closely intertwined with the success of Xbox, Bungie, seemingly defecting to the Sony ecosystem was a surprising turn of events. The much-loved studio behind the superb Halo series has recently been acquired by Sony, and as such the news has had many industry veterans floored by the announcement – with players left to theorize if Bungie's future projects would come to their platform of choice.
Naturally, the $3.6 billion-dollar acquisition was more than a mere goodwill gesture, and the developer's largely untarnished reputation is sure to wield results as Sony looks to continue the slow roll-out of its flagship system, the PS5. The news broke almost alongside the announcement of a State of Play this coming Wednesday, which looks to share gameplay details of Gran Turismo 7, but this announcement was devoured by the reveal that the Destiny creator has found a new home with Sony. More details followed, including the confirmation that the studio is dedicated to multiplatform content and even has the right to self-publish its games. As such, players have every right to be relieved.
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Bungie is currently working on Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, the next expansion for the 5-year-old game, which has been confirmed to arrive on Xbox systems as well as PC and Stadia on February 22. This trend of releasing games on other, competitive platforms is set to continue, allowing gamers and their friends of all persuasions the luxury of carrying on their journeys with the Destiny franchise as well as any future projects via ross-platform play.
This is exciting, relieving news, and ensures all parties are satisfied with the arrangement moving forward. The backing of Sony surely grants opportunities to expand the developer's horizons, and allows it to continue making games of such a high standard. The new business model means more players can join the fun, further making the disparity between console and PC, or Xbox and PlayStation, shrink.
As of Summer 2021, Destiny 2 now boasts full cross-platform support, as the release of Season of the Lost implemented the feature. Bungie's commitment to maintaining the bridge between players across the console or PC aisles allows for players to maintain their progress with their friends. The next generation of home consoles is already well over a year into its life, meaning many have already chosen the hardware that will see them through the next few years, so Bungie's acquisition resulting in only exclusive games moving forward would have been a significant backhand to players who opted to enter the Xbox sphere. This doesn't seem to be the case, and the developer's proficiency in online-centered gaming means there's a low likelihood of buyer's remorse when looking to play with friends via an internet connection.
There's no denying, however, that the move was surely provoked in no small way by financial gain for both Sony and Bungie alike. Often, it's at the cost of player retention, as instances like Rise of the Tomb Raider's timed Xbox exclusivity were less well received. However, though Bungie will fall under the Sony umbrella, it hasn't resulted in the isolation of a substantial portion of gamers. In fact, the news gives a distinct impression that the structure of the company and its future releases won't see any major changes moving forward, only that the new ownership will grant more funding to make each new release as polished as possible.
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For Sony, this acquisition was a huge step in plugging a hole that it's had since the release of Killzone: Shadowfall. Since its release, developer Guerilla has had its hands full with Horizon: Zero Dawn and its imminent sequel, Horizon: Forbidden West. The former was a technical marvel, so returning to making first-person shooters is surely off the cards for a good long while, and slotting Bungie into the already extensive Sony-owned line up finally grants Sony a proven developer within the popular genre.
PlayStation's users will rejoice at this news, and the announcement will undoubtedly entice those on the fence to purchase a PS5, but it also allows for more emphasis to be placed on putting out a good product. Up to this point, Sony has lacked a first-person shooter presence that rivals either Microsoft's 343 Studios or PC's Valve, and creating a potentially genre-defining experience for PS5 will ensure that breaking into the market will once again be as seamless as possible. Bungie has that capability, so Sony and Bungie having a dependency on each other could potentially forge truly great games that are available on other platforms, too — which does nothing but benefit the consumer.
Not only does this bring great news for Bungie themselves, but this move could also have huge diplomatic ramifications, effectively serving as a peace offering to competitor companies in the hope that games from other developers are cross-platform, too. The news of Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard shook the gaming world, wielding similar questions about the exclusivity of titles like Call of Duty and Diablo.
By ensuring that future Bungie releases are available on other platforms, this may very well provoke Microsoft to meet half-way, instead of remaining somewhat tight-lipped about the future exclusivity of Activision Blizzard releases. Sony is usually the one to be skeptical about cross-platform support, as was evident with its reluctance to lift cross-play limitations on Psyonix' Rocket League. This marks a change in philosophy for the Japanese tech company, and if Microsoft greets this adjustment with hospitality and allows for more of its owned properties to be played on Sony's flagship consoles, it would result in so much more variety in the PlayStation Store and Xbox Games Store respectively.
The emergence of Xbox Game Pass means that consumers are not short of games to occupy their time, but the potential for Sony-owned properties to be shared amongsowners of any platform makes for an enticing proposition. That's not to say that fans will see The Last of Us 2 or Returnal on Xbox' subscription service any time soon, but that Bungie, a titan of the industry, will be allowed to find an audience on other systems that will only result in a wider, happier, and more fruitful gaming industry.
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen launches February 22 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
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