Triple A games have always been expensive, but none have come even close to what Activision paid for the development of Destiny. Bobby Kotick, the CEO of the gargantuan publisher revealed that the budget for the new Bungie title is 500 million dollars. That’s right. Half a billion for one game. I’ll give you a second to pick up your jaw from the floor.
Of course, not all of the 500 million dollars is going into development. The sum covers R&D, development and promotion for the game, and I would be surprised if not a huge chunk is routed towards advertising. Expect to see billboards, buses and TV commercials everywhere for Destiny towards the end of summer.
As we all know, Activision has mountains of money brought in by franchises like Call of Duty and Skylanders that sell tens of millions every year, but investing this much into a new IP is unheard of. Yes, the game is made by the creators of Halo, and yes, everything we’ve seen from the game up until now is amazing, but still, we’re talking about a lot of money. It’s pretty clear now that Activision’s all-in with Destiny and will fight to make it a success.
“If you’re making a $500 million bet you can’t take that chance with someone else’s IP. The stakes for us are getting bigger.” said Kotick.
Bungie was working on Destiny well before the partnership with Activision, so they still own the IP, but the two companies have signed a publishing contract for the licence for the next decade. The deal requires Bungie to develop four Destiny games in this time span, which means that we can expect a new title every other year. “Bungie’s very ambitious plan is designed to unfold over a 10-year period, “said an Activision spokesperson. “The depth of creative content, scope and scale is unprecedented and is required to bring Bungie’s vision to life.”
To put things in context, the most expensive video games of the past were titles like Grand Theft Auto V, which is estimated at 265 million dollars and MMO Star Wars The Old Republic, estimated at 200 million. According to analysts, Destiny will need to sell over 15 million copies at full price in order to cover the investment.
“It’s a head scratcher, said Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia. “For brand new IP, it’s tough but it could post a big surprise.”
We will see if Destiny is 500 million dollars good this fall, when the game is slated to come out. Bungie promised a beta this summer (July) for those who pre-ordered the game, so we will get a sample a bit sooner. The game will launch worldwide on the 9th of September for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.