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 Destiny  to be biggest game of the year? One analyst suggests so
Destiny to be biggest game of the year? One analyst suggests so
June 27, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

June 27, 2014 | By Christian Nutt
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    36 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



According to a new report published by VentureBeat, Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creutz has projected Destiny the best-selling game of 2014, giving it chances of selling 10 to 15 million copies and pulling in roughly $600 million to $900 million at retail.

Inclusive of marketing, Activision is spending $500 million on the Bungie-developed game, which it is releasing for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. CEO Bobby Kotick has called the game the "biggest new IP in our company's history" and has also christened it "Activision Publishing’s next billion dollar franchise."

Creutz said that the game has the highest score in his "Ordometer" report, in which he tracks the popularity of upcoming games, in the last four years -- meaning it could outsell even the next iteration of Activision's tentpole console franchise Call of Duty.


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Comments


Chris Dias
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Destiny to be biggest flop of the year? One commenter suggests so.

Jack Kerras
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I dunno why you'd say that. It's got a lot of really neat little gameplay loops that feel like a lot of fun.

I felt like I'd seen as much as I needed during the alpha weekend, but I just kept going back for more and more. When I got off work that last day, with the alpha having been up all day, I was sorely disappointed to log in two minutes from the actual end of the alpha.

I'm excited for beta. I'm excited for launch. Game's gonna be fun, and I can play it with my friends. What's not to like?

Dane MacMahon
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@ Jack

Personal opinion: very stale gameplay for a supposed new paradigm, and surprisingly poor presentation values in several areas. (Even more of a personal opinion: I don't like multiplayer).

Objective opinion: I am a firm believer anyone can buy a hit with enough marketing and pressure on the gaming press, so I expect this to work out well for Activision in the end. Maybe slightly underwhelming, like it seems Titan Fall was, but not a flop by any means.

Ron Dippold
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@Jack: I think it's more a commentary on how analysts just pull things out of their nether regions. I've been right far more often than Pachter has, for instance, and I don't think that's because I'm anything special.

They just fill the same niche as witch doctors. Roll the bones, read some chicken guts, make some pronouncements and then management can feel they've done due diligence. Whether it's right or wrong is entirely beyond the point.

@Chris: My apologies if you were actually bagging on Destiny. :)

Benjy Davo
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The problem is with that supposed pulling in of $600-$900m is that the publishers/developers receive less than half that amount after retailers take their cut, platform fees and tax not to mention shipping fees. With the game costing $500m by their own admission they could actually take $600m and the publishers will only take about $250m of that creating a massive loss.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Justin Jones
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Maybe spending a lot and taking a bit of loss could work out with more money gains in the long runs with sequals and they are often easier to manage then a project of this scale with building engines and everything from the ground up, I wouldn't be surprised if a good portion of the money was developing the tools and engines that run it. So a loss here as long as the game is good the future is bright for due to the new IP.

Benjy Davo
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Well therein lies the problem spend $500m to maybe makes some money off a sequel using the tools...why?

Bruno Xavier
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$500M dollars to make a game is completely insane.
And they'll publish on console only...
I don't know how they expect to sell so many copies; good luck btw.

John Maurer
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I'd hazard to guess with that large of an investment they'll likely port to PC eventually, particularly considering that 3 of the 4 platforms they're releasing to are running on PC architecture

Simon Ludgate
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"3 of the 4 platforms they're releasing to are running on PC architecture"

Technically the Xbox 360 is running IBM's PowerPC architecture and the PlayStation 3 is running IBM's Cell architecture, so one could argue that neither of those constitute PC architecture, if one defines "PC" as Intel's x86 and AMD's x86-64 (the latter is used by both XBone and PS4).

Heng Yoeung
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Point is still valid. But, you're right, sometimes details matter too.

John Maurer
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@Simon - Touche good sir

Justin Kovac
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It is $500M to create a 10 year franchise, with 4 games, 4 expansions and DLC. Of course this could have changed since then.

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-06-23-bungie-coo

"but for development costs, not anything close to $500 million. I think that speaks a lot more to the long-term investment that we're making in the future of the product."

PC is mentioned in the original contract. Hope for a 6 month delayed release it it is such a big seller.

Kevin Fishburne
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Considering how hit and miss games can be with players, especially if it's not an "automatic buy" based on well-established IP, spending that much money on one game is, as Bruno mentioned above, completely insane. What's next, publisher CEOs sitting around playing Russian roulette for their shares, wives and yachts? I hope the game's a success for everyone's sakes, but damn.

Maria Jayne
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"Activision Publishing’s next billion dollar franchise."

Gotta be honest, with arrogance like that, I'm hoping for a massive fail.

Heng Yoeung
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Why?

Yes, there's a fine line between arrogance and extreme confidence, but given Activision's success rate with CoD, I think they know something about what the public wants.

Maria Jayne
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@Heng

There's nothing like a humbling at the hands of the customers, to really put into perspective who decides what is a franchise.

Randall Stevens
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So you want the game to fail massively, and a bunch of decent people to lose their jobs (which would be the result of a massive failure). All the while, Bobby Kotick, whose arrogance you are punishing, will still take home a check for more than you will make in your entire life. Yeah that seems like justice to me.

Maria Jayne
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@ Randall

Yeah, I also eat babies too.

Just can't stop.....so tasty.

@ Jeferson

See I think it's success would also be damaging. If you think $500m is out of control, just watch what happens if they make a profit on that. You might think it would be bad if Activision fail, better that than multiple companies failing while trying to beat them, as with WoW. At least Activision could fail , learn a lesson and survive.

Michael Joseph
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There aren't that many competitors in the epic science fiction shooter sub-genre. Activision and Bungie will continue to remind us how Destiny is the most epic scifi shooter ever made.

Unlike SW:TOR, Destiny doesn't have to pry players away from competitors. AAA players want to love the next huge budget title so they'll give this one every opportunity to succeed. Young players will feel like they get a chance to enter a new AAA franchise on the ground floor. Those older players who are still into FPS games will wait for the reviews to see if Bungie can deliver on a spiritual successor to a Halo series they feel is losing it's way...

There's still plenty of room for Activision and Bungie to mess up the gameplay. And players may not find the characters and story as appealing as the Master Chief saga. But if they get everything right, the players are there for the taking...

On the one hand you have to admire the risk they've taken on, but on the other hand, transmedia ambitions seem part of a general "epic" contagion spreading across all entertainment media. Part of it is probably comes from a desire to stand out in a crowded multimedia landscape, and part of it is maybe a little pathological...

Nick Harris
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Star Wars: Battlefront, No Man's Sky, Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen occupy the same space. Then there is Enemy Starfighter, Flagship, FTL, Lover's in a Dangerous Spacetime and the very similarly caped adventurer with a cybernetic companion Hyper Light Drifter which I personally am most excited about. There's even a threat from Bungie itself in the form of Halo HD - I refuse to keep typing out Halo: The Master Chief Collection and recommend everyone to do the same. My prediction is that Destiny will do very well just on pre-orders alone, but Activision's Billion dollar franchise depends on successive games or DLC being equally popular and being underwhelmed by my time with the Alpha that doesn't seem at all likely. Obviously, it is just a subjective opinion to say that both subsequent income from both the Destiny and Battlefield franchises will be hampered by their tarnished brands and it is the conservatively engineered Call of Duty that is most poised to recapture the interest of its vast community as well as pulling in those keen on Halo: Reach with its similar bag of tricks and strong narrative.

Is it simply a matter that Kevin Spacey is more watchable an actor than Peter Dinklage?

Of course not, but when the latter is reduced to faceless drone you are in danger of failing to draw the player into identifying with their mute first-person protagonist by not empathising with the plight of their companion character. Alyx Vance was essential to ensuring the player cared about Gordon Freeman's struggle so that their endeavours as Gordon Freedom held meaning. Cortana provided the same function in the Halo series, despite being an AI because she took the form of an appealing young woman (similar in many ways to the hologram of Princess Leia from the beginning of Star Wars being a sufficient inciting incident to pull all the major characters to band together in order to rescue her from the Death Star). Whereas a cybernetic cyclops that is oddly reminiscent of a four-sided dice from Dungeons and Dragons fails to conjure a connection.

Bungie have messed up the gameplay and despite making numerous constructive suggestions in the Alpha it is unlikely that they will listen, or have sufficient time to act even though they are all relatively minor tweaks. The main problem is that Destiny lacks mystery, encountering bodies of dead Guardians, their visors smashed to show their injured faces, their gear reflecting their rank, would create a sense of foreboding and implicitly communicate despite their experience their final quest proved to be too much for them. The Ghost could be brought out to scan their remains and reveal the mission that their Vanguard had assigned them at the Tower. Discovery would replace superfluous commentary, such as "If you see something flying you HAVE to shoot it!", as if I was going to do anything else in an FPS...

Shotguns and Sniper Rifles shouldn't be secondary weapons in multiplayer as you should have a short range weapon like a Sub Machine Gun to complement your medium range Assault Rifle as with Halo. Instead, these power weapons along with rockets, etc. should be carried on your back empty until you have accomplished a killstreak that is in proportion to their devastating power. This would then mean that all Heavy weaponry found in the PvE game could be reused in PvP without having to be "nerfed", however a smart player aware of their relative competence would pick an achievably low killstreak-enabled Heavy weapon loadout so that their Ghost could then teleport ammo into it without forcing to move to some poorly signposted map location. This is known to work already in Call of Duty as the Overkill perk (two decent weapons instead of one primary and an ordinary pistol), whilst simplifying the interface for selecting enabled Killstreaks by only having one choice made when you pick your loadout each time you spawn. Simple stuff like there being no sound on the moon I can overlook, but multiplayer is currently broken due to this rush-for-Heavy-ammo-drop game mechanic.

Finally, none of the Guardian thrusts work reliably. Tap to Jump and Hold to Thrust should be simple enough to implement, but that isn't what they have done. Double jumping and gliding are equally frustrating and I am often seeing players failing to vault over obstacles or bridge a gap they assumed they could fly over or overshoot a target or bump against a ledge as they try to thrust up to the upper floor of some Control point. It isn't Rocket Science to get Jetpacks to work correctly.

David Navarro
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"and being underwhelmed by my time with the Alpha that doesn't seem at all likely."

Well, I came in with tempered expectations and left the Alpha both annoyed at having to stop playing and convinced it has the potential to be *huge*. It appears mileages have varied.

Benjy Davo
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Additionally there is Planetside 2, Titanfall and Warface which are large multiplayer shooters with a sci fi edge.

Nick Harris
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Oooh, I forgot about EVE: Valkyrie and Limit Theory and...

Simon Ludgate
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Did that analyst come from the moon!?

Alan Barton
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If they got a cut of that 500M, they could probably afford to go back home to the moon. :)

No word yet on if Destiny will be on a Steam sale anytime soon? ;)

John Maurer
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Assumption is the mother of all f'ups, but they have had a good track record with FPS. Still, with development costing half-a-billion dollars, it'd better sell well, or that's going to equate to a massive lay-off (excuse me, I meant to say "restructuring") and an epic tax write-off.

G Irish
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Development costs were not $500 million. $500 million is inclusive of marketing and is not necessarily limited to the first installment of the series.

Duvelle Jones
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@G Irish
That is still a lot of money to burn if this goes south.

Jonathan Murphy
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Gamespot's saying they didn't spend anywhere near $500 million (But didn't say how much). As for next big franchise? I've seen Destiny. Honestly it's like a MMO, repetitive.

I got out of the MMO market because it's a race to the bottom. They spend too much, offer too little. Do not confuse addiction for fun.

G Irish
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I'd imagine they spent somewhere close to $100 million on development. They've been developing this game for years and the size of the playable space in Destiny is supposedly at least 4 times as large as Halo Reach. Not to mention that Destiny is releasing on 4 consoles and Bungie had to dramatically expand their headcount to account for that.

As for Destiny being an MMO did you play the Destiny Alpha? It has some elements of an MMO but it's not truly an MMO in the Everquest, WoW mold.

Nick Harris
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I didn't find Destiny to be addictive, or fun.

Masaru Wada
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I've been hearing similar opinions on a lot of major AAA games on Gamasutra, but I have to say, Gamasutra's community's taste in games seems quite different from that of your average gamer.

Pallav Nawani
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I guess Analysts are now part of the marketing machine.

A new IP is rarely the biggest game of the year.

Nick Harris
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I predict that Advanced Warfare will make more money over its lifetime.


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