And you thought Tomb Raider was in a tight spot. Destiny needs to be a huge hit for Activision, or a lot of employees are going to be feeling the pain. In this age of AAA gaming budgets gone wild, Bungie and Activision are absolutely bonkers for pumping as much as $500 million into the new franchise. That must be some kind of record, because it shatters the budget for pretty much every form of entertainment out there.
Reuters reports that at the Milken conference in Los Angeles, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick claims the franchise is a huge risk for the company but the stakes are simply too big to ignore.
“If you’re making a $500 million bet you can’t take that chance with someone else’s IP,” the Activision CEO said. “The stakes for us are getting bigger.”
For what it’s worth, Destiny looks like a really fun game, but seriously? $500 million? By comparison, Grand Theft Auto V clocked in at about half that at $250 million, but that was for an established franchise everybody knew would sell. Analysts are putting Destiny at having to sell 15 million to 16 million if it wants to break even, meaning it’s not the largest number in history but its still pretty significant. I just don’t see it, though, unless Activision prepares an enormously expensive marketing campaign over the next few months.
What are we working with here to make this the one of the biggest new franchise launches in history? Halo isn’t in style anymore, and Bungie isn’t nearly the household name it once was when the series’ popularity peaked at Halo 3. A whole new and massive generation of gamers have come of age since then and most might have never even played a Halo game. Activision can’t really use Bungie’s name to market to anyone beyond its fanbase.
Call of Duty still hogs the charts, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be competing against Destiny in the science fiction first-person shooter genre this year. Sure, they are different types of first-person shooters, but what Average Joe is going to know that? The gamer crowd is too small to sell 16 million copies and the casual crowd will lean towards the familiar Call of Duty namesake.
Finally, Activision is totally ignoring the PC market, which has been rocketing off over the last few years with the rise of digital distribution. A huge chunk of hardcore gamers are jumping to gaming on the PC these days, and if Activision is trying to attract these people to make up for those who flock to Call of Duty, why deny them the platform?
Like I said, Destiny looks great, but $500 million worth of great? I’m not sure.
We’ll have to wait until July to get our first hands on it to see if it was worth the check. During its financial reports, Activision confirmed that a beta test would begin for Destiny this July on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 first. No information for registration has been made available yet, but we’ll keep an eye out for it.
If the beta proves to be successful, I might have more hope in Destiny‘s outlook, but we’ll ultimately have to wait until launch on September 9th to see if Activision’s huge gamble will pay off. Destiny will be released for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.