FTC Opens Probe Into Sony’s Bungie Acquisition

The US Federal Trade Commission has opened a probe into Sony’s purchase of Halo and Destiny developer Bungie. Sony announced the purchase of Bungie earlier this year soon after tech giant and home console rival Microsoft purchase Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion.

At the time, Sony’s purchase of Bungie seemed like a tit-for-tat acquisition, although Bungie is a much smaller company with a final price tag of just $3.6 billion. Sources speaking to The Information revealed the FTC’s probe is not about the size of the acquisition, but it could represent a more aggressive stance from the regulator against mergers in big tech.

Soon after Microsoft announced its purchase of Activision Blizzard, Bloomberg reported the FTC and US Justice Department will investigate the merger to ensure consumer protections are upheld. At the time, FTC chairwoman Lina Khan issued stern remarks against corporate consolidation, noting it could "inflict a host of harms, from higher prices and lower wages to diminished opportunity, reduced innovation, and less resiliency."

Sony has already hinted that the main reason for its purchase of Bungie was to assist the Destiny developer in expanding into other media. Bungie has confirmed it retains full control over its game-making business and will continue to publish games on all platforms. With little change to consumers, it seems unlikely that the FTC’s probe will find anything harmful in the Sony/Bungie merger.

Bungie is also making headlines as the only game studio to publicly state support for a woman's right to choose in the wake of the leaked Supreme Court draft overturning Roe v. Wade. In a statement on the studio's website, the company said it was "not a difficult decision" to stand up for "reproductive choice and liberty."

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