PlayStation maker Sony is stepping up its competition with Xbox maker Microsoft by buying the video game studio behind one of Xbox’s hit games.
Sony Interactive Entertainment said Monday it would spend $3.6 billion to buy Bungie Inc., an independent games publisher based in Bellevue, Washington. Bungie makes the popular Destiny game franchise and was the original developer of Xbox-owned Halo.
Microsoft bought Bungie in 2000, but then spun off the game studio in 2007 while retaining intellectual property rights to the Halo franchise.
Sony is one of the biggest video game companies in the world, but Microsoft has stepped up its gaming ambitions, most recently announcing plans to buy high-profile games publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. . Acquiring the owner of titles like Call of Duty and Candy Crush would immediately put Microsoft ahead of Nintendo as the third-largest games company by global sales, behind Japan’s Sony and Chinese tech giant Tencent.
Xbox chief executive Phil Spencer told news site Axios last year that “we’ve learned a lot” since dropping Bungie. Spencer tweeted his congratulations to PlayStation on Monday for “adding a talented team” to its game studios.
Bungie started in Chicago in 1991 and made its first hits, such as Myth and Marathon, for personal computers. It now employs around 900 people and is based not far from Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Sony’s video game division is based in San Mateo, California.