Video games costing as much as a big budget Hollywood blockbuster is nothing new. Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V, for example is said to have cost around $265 million overall—the most expensive video game of all time. To put that in perspective, the estimated most expensive movie of all time is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which cost around $300 million. After that comes Tangled ($260 million), Spider-Man 3 ($258 million), and the rest of them. Movie budgets don’t usually include marketing cost and other things that would increase these numbers, but you get the idea.
So when it’s reported that a new video game, Destiny, will likely cost around $500 million when it’s all said and done, you understand the significance.
The game comes from Bungie, the creators of the hugely successful Halo franchise, and offers an ongoing first-person shooter multiplayer experience. If you’ve not yet seen the game in action, you can do so with gameplay demos right here and also here.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick revealed the staggering number at the Milken conference in Los Angeles last week. If true, it’d be the most expensive game of all time by far.
Of course there are reasons for the number being so high. Unlike movie numbers, this amount of money factors in a variety of different costs such as marketing, packaging, infrastructure support, royalties, and more.
The game is also an insanely ambitious one, as there is a ten-year plan behind Destiny. What exactly that means—whether it will be the one main game with a bunch of add-ons/expansions released over the years like Activision’s World of Warcraft or sequels/spinoffs like Halo or Call of Duty—and how much of that total is going to future releases/add-ons is unknown. Bungie has already stated that there will be no monthly subscription fee to play the game, despite it making plenty of sense considering the massive investment.
Still, all things considered, this is an astonishing amount of money to sink into a game when success is so rarely guaranteed. The big question is will it all be worth it?
While Activision and Bungie both hope Destiny will mirror the success of the Halo and Call of Duty franchises, interest in the game doesn’t appear to be overwhelming; some gamers seem genuinely excited to play it, while others think it looks to be lacking uniqueness. If for whatever reason the game doesn’t click and doesn’t perform well, it could be pretty devastating.
According to analysts, 15 to 16 million units of the game at $60 per unit would need to be sold in order to just break even. To once again put things in perspective, GTA V and its estimated $265 million budget went on to make $800 million in one day, break multiple world records, and sell over 32 million units as of February while currently well on its way to hitting the $2 billion mark.
Only time will tell if this wild 10-year, $500 million bet will pay off for Activision, and it will be very interesting to see what the game shows off at E3 to try to sell more potential players, and also how it’s ultimately received when the game is released on September 9th.
If interested, you can pre-order Destiny now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and PS3 now.
Based on what you’ve seen and read, do you see this longterm plan ending positively for Activision and Bungie, or do you think it will all fall apart?
[Source: Reuters via Game Informer l Wiki]