Activision Spending $500 Million on Destiny

Posted by at 2:22 pm on May 6, 2014

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Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is quoted recently as saying that the company is “making a $500 million bet” on Destiny, as reported by Reuters. The quote has caught fire for dwarfing the alleged $260 million Take-Two Interactive spent to “develop, produce and market” Grand Theft Auto 5. Here’s where context and recognition of Destiny‘s infrastructure over a 10-year contract are important.

Activision is currently keeping mum because of this afternoon’s upcoming year-end financial report, but a company spokesperson told Reuters on Monday the half-billion number includes “marketing, packaging, infrastructure support, royalties and other costs.” The thing to pick up there is the infrastructure support, which is probably a significant expense missing from the aforementioned Grand Theft Auto 5 cost used to keep GTA Online operational. Don’t forget about customer service, DLC development, and so forth.

The flaw here is to think of Destiny as a game that’s pressed, shipped and forgotten. Activision Blizzard builds franchise gardens, betting big on a few company-owned pieces of intellectual property for enormous returns, as has been evidenced by Call of Duty, Skylanders, Diablo and, in the past, Guitar Hero.

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