Sony Spent 1.2 Billion to Keep Destiny 2 Devs.
When Sony revealed its $3.6 billion deal to buy Bungie, it was clear that they were paying a premium for the original creators of Halo and now, Destiny 2. The company has since then revealed that roughly a third of that price tag was just to pay Bungie developers so they don’t immediately leave the studio.
“Approximately one-third of the US $3.6 billion acquisition consideration consists primarily of deferred payments to employee shareholders, conditional upon their continued employment and other retention incentives,” Sony announced in yesterday’s earnings presentation as first reported by Tweaktown. The approximately $1.2 billion will be paid out over several years with an estimated two-thirds to be paid within the first two years following the official closing date of the acquisition. Sony is paying for the people as much as Destiny 2.
To put that number into perspective, Sony paid $229 million for Spider-man maker Insomniac Games as recently as 2019. While Bungie has more than double the number of employees, at 900 people, $1.2 billion still comes out to over $1 million per dev, though obviously, some folks at Bungie will get much more than others.
Sony is giving complete creative freedom to Bungie and is even spending exorbitant amounts of money to ensure the group isn’t broken up. While this does make sense for the platform holder to want to preserve its purchase by incentivising the retention of employees in key positions, it all sounds a little absurd as a spectator doesn’t it?
The massive payouts come as consolidation in the gaming industry kicks into overdrive, and the capital from other parts of the economy floods the market. This has led to unprecedented competition between companies for game development talent, and it’s clear from the way Sony has talked about the Bungie deal that what it’s most interested in is the studio’s expertise when it comes to making live service games. It cannot capitalize on that if senior developers all cash in their chips at once.