Whatever it is that Bungie is cooking in addition to Destiny 2 must be pretty goddamn special, because Sony is spending $1.2 billion on ensuring the developer’s staff don’t leave. The company explained during its earnings report that roughly a third of its $3.6 billion buyout fee will be used for “deferred payments to employee shareholders, conditional upon their continued employment, and other retention incentives”. In other words, the Japanese giant is coughing up serious cash to keep the team together.
The cost of the acquisition will be expensed over a period of several years, with “approximately two-thirds […] in the first two years after the closing date”.
One can’t help but wonder how other acquired PlayStation Studios teams, like Insomniac Games, must feel about all this. The circumstances aren’t identical, obviously, but Sony is giving complete creative freedom to Bungie – and is even spending exorbitant sums of money on ensuring the group isn’t broken up. While it does make sense for the platform holder to want to preserve its purchase by incentivising the retention of employees in key positions, all of this sounds a bit bonkers from the sidelines, doesn’t it?
Ultimately, it brings us back to that quote from analyst Michael Pachter earlier in the week: did Sony massively overpay in desperation here?