A hunter standing in the Tower watching over the Last City on Earth
Image Source by Bungie via Twinfinite

Sony Forcing Bungie Layoffs is the Exact Opposite of What Should Be Happening

Everything about this is awful.

So many talented people have lost their jobs at Bungie at the hands of corporate greed. Let’s discuss how Sony forcing Bungie layoffs is the exact opposite of what should be happening.

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On the 30th of October 2023, the gaming community at large began to hear that Bungie was laying off some of its staff. These kinds of things happen sadly, and often depending on the studio and their success. What rubs me the wrong way here is that it’s Bungie suffering the layoffs. We’re talking about a many multi-million-dollar successful developer suffering layoffs, under the watch and support of Sony—a multi-billion-dollar company.

Now, live-service games suffering layoffs and shutting down is again somewhat common if the game can’t generate long term traction in the industry—case in point: Marvel’s Avengers. But it doesn’t make sense for Bungie to be doing the same, especially in the face of Bungie’s successful sales with the Lightfall expansion. Furthermore, the player counts rising to nearly 200k at the start of a new season and still retaining 50k, on Steam alone, by the end is another metric of their successes.

The splash screen for the The Final Shape expansion
Image Source by Bungie via Twinfinite

So why lay off 100 jobs or 8% of the company? Well, it looks like Bungie’s revenue was running 45% below the annual projected amount. On top of that, internal feedback for The Final Shape expansion was getting feedback that was good, but far from great, which prompted the June delay, and 2025 delay for Marathon, Bungie’s multiplayer Extraction shooter. Not great news, but it actually gets worse.

According to Bloomberg, many employee benefits outside of health insurance only last until the end of the month they were let go in. Severances and health insurance will only last a few months too. Additionally, and by far the worst news yet, there were quite a few let go employees who owned unvested shares from the Sony purchase. To keep those shares and invest them, you needed to stick with Bungie for X number of years. Unfortunately, the rules state that if you leave or are fired those unvested shares go back to Bungie. Absolutely awful.

The problem with all of this is Bungie management, because earlier on Sony told upper management their revenue was far below projections. And what does Bungie think would increase revenue? Monetize Destiny 2 even further! They had the ingenious idea of further monetizing Dungeons with a Dungeon Pass, which sucks because those used to be the best free content of any season they appeared in. Of course, you can’t forget about the increasingly hated Event Passes that do little to entice players to engage and are only there to sell more microtransactions.

Bungie management’s decision to over-monetize instead of delivering more quality content put them in this mess. In fact, according to a recent IGN report, many employees begged leadership for months to make the changes in Destiny 2 needed to win players back. Alas, monetization was more of a focus as management rushed to meet and exceed projected losses.

The splash screen for the Eververse in Destiny 2
Image Source by Bungie via Twinfinite

While Bungie management is certainly to blame, Sony’s cost-cutting orders are equally at fault. How do they expect Bungie to make even better content now with less resources? Bungie even promised their employees that being bought by Sony wouldn’t result in layoffs—look where we are now. It’s all made worse by the fact that Bungie just completed a new costly headquarters that cost quite a bit to complete.

This all speaks to both Sony and Bungie putting everything else first but the most important thing for creating a good video game—passion. And I’m afraid Bungie doesn’t have much left after this most recent shakeup. None of this would have happened if Bungie focused on making what they want to make and taking some risk. At the end of the day, time will tell if the extra time can make The Final Shape good enough to persuade gamers to forgive Bungie’s failures that caused this mess to begin with.


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Author
Image of Ali Taha
Ali Taha
Whether its new releases, or a new Destiny 2 season, Ali will flex his gaming and freelancer skills to cover them extensively. He started off writing features for Game Rant but found a better home here on Twinfinite. While Ali waits for the next Monster Hunter title, he enjoys publishing his progression fantasy novels as an indie author.