Activision to Make Destiny “the Biggest new IP Launch in History”: Why Sony Was Smart to Back Bungie

Halo defined the Xbox. The game was instrumental in ensuring the system’s successful launch, and forever tied the Xbox to the shooter genre, which was particularly advantageous when Call of Duty became the biggest franchise of the generation.

Despite trying again and again, Sony couldn’t topple the Halo series, proving to be a major reason for the 360’s dominance in the US and UK – not only was the game (and later CoD) massively popular, but its multiplayer focus meant that people would buy 360s just so that they could play their friends at Halo and CoD, creating a vast network of gamers who were locked into playing Xbox.

Destiny is Sony’s first chance to break that cycle. Now that Bungie is multiplatform, fans of the developer aren’t forced to get the Xbox One to play Destiny, meaning that other considerations like DRM, the first party line-up, price and general public opinion can be taken into account. And, given the hatred for the One right now, it’s easy to see why people might be drawn to the apparently more gaming-focused PlayStation 4.

But Sony has not only leveled the playing field, they’re also on the attack: The game will have “exclusive in-game content, only available on PlayStation”, making it the more attractive buy, and the title was shown at the PS Meeting and will be demoed at Sony’s E3 conference, showing to gamers which platform Destiny is ‘best’ on (even if it might not be true). I am personally against exclusive, or timed exclusive, DLC as it simply disadvantages one equally deserving consumer base, and doesn’t take advantage of the single hardware platform, but it is undeniably a smart business move that served Microsoft well this generation.

Many, of course, have wondered if Destiny will manage to replicate the runaway success of Halo, but one thing is for sure – Activision is determined to ensure it does. Acti Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg said:

We are making a big bet on Bungie and on Destiny. It’s a new IP in an industry dominated by existing franchises. And by the time it is done, I suspect this will be one of the biggest investments ever made in launching a new game.

Our goal is to make Destiny the biggest new IP launch in history.

Say what you like about Activision and the way they mistreat their developers, price gouge consumers and rely on Call of Duty, but they have an unbeatable track record at creating smash hits. Not only does CoD break records every year, but Skylanders is the best selling game of the year so far. They’re backing Bungie big time, and Sony is backing them.

Sony finally has an opportunity to attract an audience that grew up on Halo, and shooters, rather than on the PlayStation One and Two. Their first party attempts have failed to swing things in their favor, but throwing their weight behind Activision and Bungie could change everything.