Bungie was able to negotiate such favorable terms, and Sony agreed to them, because Sony was negotiating from a position of weakness and both parties knew it. That’s why the deal doesn’t appear to “make sense” from the outside. Sony has no in house first person shooter talent anymore, they have 0 live service expertise, and their competitor is an industry leader in both categories. They also need to build a portfolio for Spartacus, and subscription services if that nature cannot be sustained on single player games with 5-7 year development cycles.
The deal was being negotiated for months, but Microsoft buying ABK likely caused Sony to cave to Bungie’s remaining demands to quickly get a deal done. It’s a deal that runs high risk for Sony for 3 reasons:
* Bungie has a multi decade long reputation of working poorly management, going so far as to publicly undermine management when they feel their independence is questioned
* The concessions granted to bungie weaken Sony’s hand in future negotiations with firms it’s trying to acquire. Anyone Sony was in negotiations with now or in the future will see the deal bungie got and will demand more from Sony, because they know has already caved once
* the special treatment Sony is granting Bungie risks alienating Sony’s relationship with its other first party studios, some of who have been with Sony for decades and might be wondering why they aren’t getting the special treatment Bungie is getting
If Bungie’s expertise proves critical in the success of future Sony live service titles, than this purchase will have been worth it. Otherwise, I am skeptical this deal works out in the long.