Bungie’s partnership with Activision for over eight years working on Destiny under the mega-publisher is coming to an end. The developer announced that they are parting ways with Activision and taking the Destiny intellectual property with them.
Over on the official Bungie website, a post published on January 10th, 2019 explains that both companies are separating from one another on amicable terms. The team makes it pretty plain that the dream is over, stating…
“We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on Destiny. Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for Destiny to Bungie. With our remarkable Destiny community, we are ready to publish on our own, while Activision will increase their focus on owned IP projects.
“The planned transition process is already underway in its early stages, with Bungie and Activision both committed to making sure the handoff is as seamless as possible.”
This comes after several turbulent months of downward spirals in player engagement, player spending, and overall sales of the Destiny brand.
Back in November of 2018, Activision snidely informed shareholders that Destiny 2 was not making the kind of money it was supposed to and that it was ultimately a financial disappointment. Activision originally suggested possibly monetizing the game further, or pushing more microtransactions into the title. Apparently Bungie didn’t agree and the companies decided to part ways.
This dissolution of the partnership came after a lot of hiccups and bumps in the road since releasing Destiny 2, which was not quite the hit that the first game was. This was also coupled with a lot of underhanded tactics employed by Bungie to bolster in-game spend, such as putting caps on how much players can earn XP within a certain amount of time. But it didn’t end there. Bungie also tried scheming for more cash shop coins through Glimmer caps, which greatly angered the community, along with moving more of the in-game lootable items into the cash shop.
All of these antics eventually led to a community who just did not want to stick around, and analysts saw the writing on the wall as far back as January, 2018, where they noted that the waning playerbase would likely result in the game’s failure.
In a way, they were right.
The AAA series originally saw Bungie and Activision signing a $500 million deal over the course of ten years, as reported by Engadget. That breaks down to around $50 million a year expenditure , but there were a few caveats that came with such a high price tag, including meeting a very specific Metacritic average for each game the company produced, and selling upwards a specific amount of copies. Well, things didn’t quite work out that well for both companies and after the honeymoon was over it looks like it’s time for them to say goodbye.
Now we’ll see if Bungie can sustain the Destiny franchise on their own and without any of the financial freedoms or corporate restrictions that come with being under the Activision label. Bungie notes that it will continue to finish the current content and seasonal events as outlined on the roadmap, and that they have some surprises in store for fans thereafter.