SEPT. 10, 2014 • Bungie Software’s Destiny sales to retail have hit $500 million for the title’s September 9 release. Activision Blizzard reported the dollar figure, which covers units distributed into retail channels internationally, as well as digital copies bundled in with console hardware. The number of units sold-in is estimated to be around 10 million. The publisher claims Destiny is the most pre-ordered new IP release in history. Activision Blizzard reportedly spent $500 million on production and marketing of the video game. Destiny was released on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms.
Impact: Anyone watching the first weekend of the new NFL season saw a lot of television advertising for Destiny so there is no doubt that Activision has gotten behind the game in a big way. Destiny portends to be one of the biggest console titles of the fall and of the year. The last new franchise to break records was Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs that sold 4 million units in the week after its May 27 release. Compared to a major established franchise, Destiny fares well. A year ago Take-Two Interactive’s Grand Theft Auto V racked up $1 billion in worldwide revenue during its first two weeks and shipped 29 million units globally in six weeks. Bungie is the developer behind Halo so it is no surprise that many gamers are excited about the studio’s latest excursion into future humans battling despicable alien foes. The beta for Destiny attracted 4.6 million players. The trend to watch though is how well the title performs over time after more reviews and word of mouth have their effect. There was no early access for reviewers, who had to wait until servers went live a day before the launch. Despite overall favorable mentions, there is some discussion about the game lacking attitude and humor, as well as some of the magic found in MMOs.
Destiny is a shared world shooter. The action is much like the popular Borderlands with interactive environments closer to MMOs. All of this makes the game something of a hybrid. Activision Blizzard is obviously hoping for a new franchise to help supplement the fortunes of Call of Duty. The difference is Destiny is an always-on online service that doesn’t translate into the typical annual installments that the publisher is used to. Gamers are already being encouraged on PSN and Xbox Live to spend $35 for a pass that includes the first two game expansions. Each expansion will be available separately for $20. A lot is riding on how millions of users interact in Destiny and how much engagement they experience on an ongoing basis. Bungie justifiably has plenty of street credibility so we would not put it past the studio to succeed in this endeavor. Destiny is still something of an experiment, however, so we’ll know better shortly after the holidays.