You know that Sony announced that they were buying Bungie to the tune of $3.6 billion USD, right? Well, guess what they’re doing with a third of that amount? Hint: it’s to keep the developers from doing what rats do when they think their ship is sinking.

A Whole Bunch Of Loot For Bungie Devs?

"Destiny 2" screenshot showing a gold loot crate, waiting to be looted by Bungie devs.
Bungie devs mashing that “Collect Loot” button like no tomorrow.

Tweaktown just revealed a very interesting fact about Sony’s buyout of Bungie, as reported by Kotaku. All of this is from Sony’s Q3 FY2021 earnings report. According to a pair of paragraphs from page 12 of that report:

“Approximately one-third of the 3.6 billion U.S. dollar consideration for the acquisition consists primarily of deferred payments to employee shareholders, conditional upon their continued employment, and other retention incentives. These amounts will be paid over the course of several years after the acquisition closes and will be recorded as expenses for accounting purposes.

We expect about two-thirds of these deferred payments and other retention incentives to be expensed in the first two years after the acquisition closes.”

So basically: about $1.2 billion USD of Sony‘s buyout is just to keep the Bungie developers from leaving. Not only that, but about $792 million USD of that amount will be paid out over the course of the 2 years following Sony’s acquisition of Bungie. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of money over a very short time period. Relatively speaking. It seems that the developers are going to collect a lot of loot real soon. At least, as soon as Sony completes that buyout. Seriously, if you divide that $1.2 billion up by the 900+ employees Bungie currently has in 2022, it results in about $1.33 million USD per employee, assuming that it’s all divided equally. It’s probably not, but it’s still a lot of moolah. That’s the good news, and now comes the bad.

The “Golden Handcuff” Problem?

A pair of golden handcuffs, ready to hold you to your job.
You could probably cut through those handcuffs with your fingernails, due to how soft gold is. But then, why would you want to?

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. It seems this massive buyout of Bungie is causing some friction with their employees, according to The Washington Post. One employee even referred to the 2-year payout as a pair of “golden handcuffs”. The employee in question doesn’t specify what that means, but we can guess just from the term alone. It seems that at least a few employees feel like Sony is making them stick around despite any upheaval just for the promise of all that moolah. It’s a good strategy for Sony to take to preserve talent, but is it moral? Well, it depends on how much upheaval Sony plans for Bungie, and if Sony keeps to the buyout agreements. All in all, this will have to be a “Wait and See” moment as we wait for more news about this later. Preferably with a bag of popcorn handy.

Source: Tweaktown, Kotaku, Sony, The Washington Post