Is Bungie’s Independence on the Brink? Sony Could Seize Control If Financial Targets Keep Getting Missed

playstation bungie

In 2022, Sony acquired Destiny 2 developer Bungie for almost $4 billion.

However, despite repeated claims that Bungie would remain an “independent subsidiary”, a recent report by IGN paints a different picture.

According to their findings, if Bungie’s sci-fi MMO fails to meet specific revenue targets, Sony could take complete control of the studio, effectively dissolving its existing board of directors.

Falling Short of Expectations

In October 2023, Bungie faced a significant setback with 100+ layoffs following the launch of the poorly received Lightfall expansion.

Bloomberg reported that the studio missed its 2023 forecast by a staggering 45%. This, coupled with Destiny 2’s historically low player count on PC, painted a worrying picture for the studio’s future.

Cutting Costs and Facing Morale Issues

According to IGN, CEO Pete Parsons took the initiative to implement cost-cutting measures, including 1000+layoffs, a hiring freeze, and the cancellation of cost-of-living adjustments and holiday bonuses.

While these actions may have addressed the immediate financial concerns, they came at a cost. Morale reportedly plummeted, with many employees expressing disappointment towards senior management’s seemingly “flippant” attitude towards the situation.

What’s the Current Board Structure?

Currently, Bungie’s post-acquisition board comprises a mix of Sony and Bungie executives:

  • Herman Hulst: Head of PlayStation Studios
  • Eric Lempel: Senior Vice President at Sony
  • Jason Jones: Bungie Co-founder
  • Luis Villegas: Bungie CTO
  • Pete Parsons: Bungie CEO (tie-breaking vote)

However, this structure hinges on Bungie’s reaching certain financial goals. If they’re unable to meet these expectations consistently, Sony has the option to exert full control over the studio.

The Future of Bungie

The upcoming expansion, Destiny 2: The Final Shape, is crucial for Bungie’s future. Originally scheduled for February 2024, it was delayed to June 4th, 2024 to allow for further improvement.

Additionally, Bungie’s new project, the extraction shooter Marathon, was also pushed back to 2025. These delays, coupled with the studio’s ongoing challenges, create a sense of uncertainty about Bungie’s trajectory.

A Legacy in Question

Bungie has a long and successful history, having developed the beloved Halo franchise and the first Destiny game.

Their commitment to independence and sustainable development has been lauded in the past. However, the current situation raises questions about whether these core values can be upheld under Sony’s potentially stricter control.


Uncertain Path Ahead

It’s difficult to predict exactly what lies ahead for Bungie. Their recent struggles raise concerns about the studio’s ability to meet Sony’s expectations and maintain its independence.

However, it’s important to remember that Bungie has historically overcome adversity. Whether they can do so again under Sony’s scrutiny remains to be seen.

Only time will tell

Will Bungie be able to turn things around and meet Sony’s expectations?

Will The Final Shape be the success story they desperately need?

Will Sony ultimately exert full control over the studio, effectively ending Bungie’s independence?

The future of Bungie remains shrouded in uncertainty, but one thing is clear: this saga is far from over.

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