Destiny is literally Phil’s favourite game, and honestly Destiny has been the only game to get “live service” right.
Constant content drops every 3 months, big yearly expansions, plenty of things to “do” and go for to keep players playing, and lots of monetization in the forms of dlc, battle passes, eververse items etc. Even I admit I’m a sucker for purchasing exotic ornaments…
Was the price they were asking for really that big ? And let’s not forget potential for Sony exclusivity in the future. Even something as simple as earlier dlc or strikes/exotics that do not come to Xbox for a year like it used to be, actually effects the player base quite significantly. Let us not forget PS4 becoming the defacto console for most “casual” gamers due to cod dlc arriving there early, even though 360 had the player base the previous gen.
Microsoft wanted to buy them at under 2 Billion, also wanted exclusivity. Sony was willing to give them 3.6 and complete freedom on where to publish.
If the details about the deal are accurate, Bungie really won this deal and Sony kind of got screwed. I am sure there will be some Destiny content in PS Plus or something, but Bungie seems to have complete control in the relationship.
I still highly doubt their future titles won’t be console exclusive (I’m sure they will still come to PC), much like I don’t believe after contracts are over MS won’t make cod exclusive (barring f2p titles).
Like I said as well above, simply having timed exclusivity for a huge games content actually has a large impact on where those gamers will buy their next console.
Destiny is nowhere near the only game to do live service “right” - Sea of Theives, ESO(yes MMOrpgs are the original live service games), Fallout 76, CoD Warzone, WoW, Overwatch, Rainbow Six Seige, Minecraft, Roblox and a large amount of other games have gotten it right and unlike Destiny they don’t lock people out of content they paid for no reason.
I’m pointing out that content exclusivity can be just as bad if not worse than full exclusivity for a title. Majority of dedicated players will switch ecosystems if it’s their main game like many Destiny players.
Bungie just wasn’t worth it at that price. I mean look at it this way Zenimax came with no strings full control, several studios with a couple games coming out each year and a tidy pile of major IPs - Bungie wanted half the price of Zenimax (more than Microsoft spent to get Mojang even!) for a studio that would remain semi-independant with one IP Microsoft wouldn’t own.
Now that is maybe overstating it - Bungie is one studio but it is a big studio and Destiny brings in good revenue, perhaps good enough to justify 3.6 billion - but with all the other stipulations it just wasn’t worth it. At least for Microsoft anyway, for Sony that price was seemingly worth paying to secure am experienced GaaS developer to help their studios grow.
I think this is why the whole “Microsoft can outbid Sony on anything” argument doesn’t really hold up - Microsoft and Sony have different needs as companies and while Microsoft has more money they aren’t going to spend more than they think a company is worth. There’s just going to be situations where an acquisition target is simply worth more to Sony.
We don’t have the full financial net profits from each business but:
Activision revenue was $8.8 Bi 2021, Bungie $300 Mi. That is 29 X in revenue.
Activision purchase was $69 Bi, Bungie was $3.6. That is 19 X in cost.
Activision has countless ip, global reach, platforms and Microsoft gets full control. Bungie is 1 ip and they keep control.
It would be nice to see the actual net profits, but I’m guessing it followed the same trend. Microsoft just made a better investment in their view.
The numbers I saw (partly based on estimates it should be stressed) had Bungie at roughly half the revenue of the Zenimax. So paying half makes sense on that perspective, but then Zenimax came with a lot of additional benefits.