SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (AFP) – As a gaming industry war with Microsoft heats up, Sony announced a $3.6 billion deal on Monday to purchase US video game firm Bungie, developer of successes including “Halo” and “Destiny.”

Sony’s investment comes only weeks after Microsoft announced a $69 billion plan to buy Activision Blizzard, the creator of “Call of Duty,” which would make Microsoft the third-largest gaming firm by revenue behind Tencent and Sony.

Bungie is situated in the US state of Washington, not far from Microsoft’s headquarters, and their “Halo” franchise is regarded as one of the video games that led to the success of Xbox platforms.

The Bungie purchase is “an significant milestone in our ambition to widen the reach of PlayStation to a much larger audience,” according to Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan.

Bungie has produced games for rival PlayStation and Xbox systems, as well as PCs running Microsoft Windows software, since its founding in early 1991.

According to Sony, Bungie will continue to operate as an independent firm, developing games for a variety of platforms.

In a statement, studio president Pete Parsons stated, “We will continue to pursue our goal of one, unified Bungie community, producing games that cherish our community and meet them wherever and however they choose to play.”

Video games that allow players to traverse virtual worlds as avatars are seen to be the metaverse’s natural forerunners.

The metaverse is a concept for the internet’s future, a virtual environment in which users may interact via sensors, lenses, and other devices.

Sony sells virtual reality headsets in addition to PlayStation video game systems.

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