by Dave Thier Destiny, as a game, has already had a stellar launch and opening few months. It’s a strange beast: oddly cobbled together, repetitive and wholly addictive, but these early days only represent a small portion of Activision and Bungie’s ambition. As evidenced by titles like Skylanders and Call of Duty, Activision isn’t really one to do things halfway. […]
by Dave Thier
Destiny, as a game, has already had a stellar launch and opening few months. It’s a strange beast: oddly cobbled together, repetitive and wholly addictive, but these early days only represent a small portion of Activision and Bungie’s ambition. As evidenced by titles like Skylanders and Call of Duty, Activision isn’t really one to do things halfway. Bungie is already planning on releasing the first expansion pack in December, and has apparently already started work the next full retail release, though one assumes it’s a very long way off.
“Work has also begun on future expansion packs as well as on our next full game release,” said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg during today’s Activision Blizzard earnings call, via Polygon. “We’re very pleased with the launch and continuing engagement.”
Since the beginning, it’s been interesting to think about just how Activision plans on turning Destiny into a reliable revenue stream. The publisher already has two basic models in its wheelhouse: on the one hand, we have World of Warcraft, which charges players a monthly subscription fee as well as a larger chunk for infrequent expansions. We always knew that a subscription service wasn’t really going to fly for a console shooter of any kind. Way on the other end of the spectrum, we have Call of Duty, which relies on $60 boxed releases every year. It’s by no means an MMO, but the sort of “upgrade charge” that it asks out of regular multiplayer gamers actually looks sort of similar. Destiny was always going to have to be somewhere in the middle.
My guess is that we’re going to see something like three expansion packs a year at $20, as well as a full $60 release every two years. That gives us $90 a year for the gamer that buys everything, which is less than a World of Warcraft subscription or a Call of Duty player that buys every game and season pass.At some point, once the player base is well established, I’d also expect to start seeing some player customization-based micro transactions — ghost and ship skins, class items and that sort of thing. Again, World of Warcraft provides a decent model for when the player base will accept that sort of thing.
That’s just one possibility: I imagine that the strategy will evolve over the course of Activision’s planned decade. What’s nice about a model like this is that it really does put the onus on the developer to make expansions and upgrades that are actually worth buying. People will still upgrade just to stay with the pack, sure, but Bungie is going to have to deliver new and interesting content to get people to make that purchase every time.
Hirshberg also reported that the game has 9.5 million registered users, which isn’t chump change by any stretch.