Activision Explains Why It Broke Up with Bungie

Megalith

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Activision Blizzard revealed why it was severing ties with Bungie during this week’s conference call: Destiny simply wasn’t making enough money. "Destiny is highly critically acclaimed, high quality content, but it was not meeting our financial expectations,” said President and Chief Operating Officer Coddy Johnson. He also said the game was tying up talent, as other developers (e.g., High Moon and Vicarious Visions) were tasked to assist Bungie in pumping out content faster.

When Activision Blizzard management conducted a financial review for 2019, the company saw signs that indicated Destiny would not be a "material contributor" to the company's profit. Not only that, but Activision Blizzard assigned some of its own studios, including High Moon Studios and Vicarious Visions, to assist Bungie in developing Destiny content faster. "[Bungie was] tying up one of our scarcest resources--developer talent," Johnson said.
 

DukenukemX

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I don't believe them. If it made money then it made more money than what Activision was spending on Destiny.
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Nafensoriel

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Activision seems to now live in a world where millions of dollars is somehow not money.

This is what? The third such statement where an already absurd profit-making enterprise "isn't enough" for them. They are going to "isn't enough" themselves out of all money at the rate they are going.
 

Staples

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Seeing the personalities behind Bungie (at least in the MS days), I get a feeling they may not be so easy to work with.
 

Burticus

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Coming from the COD people, I believe them. They want yearly releases with lots of paid DLC / other money generating revenue.

Bungie tried this with the Eververse and it's been a big flop.

I also believe that when Bungie was with MS, they were more concerned with putting out hits rather than sticking to anything resembling a schedule.
 

RogueKitsune

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So what I got out of this is the following...

Destiny made money, but not all the money, so its not worth anything to Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard needs developers so they are laying off around 8-10% of their work force

Speaking from experience nothing motivates developers more than a company posting record profits/revenue and still laying off people, while the C levels get huge bonuses.
 

Brian_B

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I can believe it.

Just because something is making money doesn’t mean it’s worth it.

An investment that earns 1% isn’t nearly as good as one that earns 10%

They cut the cord and moved their capital (money, manpower, and resources) to what they hope will yield higher returns.
 

Burticus

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Speaking from experience nothing motivates developers more than a company posting record profits/revenue and still laying off people, while the C levels get huge bonuses.

I've worked at places where there was an annual "culling" of 5-10% of the workforce. Basically whomever hit the bottom ring on reviews or were on "double secret probation" from management. Strangely though, half of them would reappear in 3 months during the next hiring phase. I worked with one guy who was decent at his job but management hated him, the 5 years I worked there, he got laid off then rehired 4 times. That's 80% rehire rate, not bad :) And he told me he didn't care and even planned for it money wise. If he got rehired within 6 months he kept his tenure and vacation time.
 

KazeoHin

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"below expectations"

Can anyone remember the last AAA publisher who announced that a title met or exceeded expectations? No? That's because it never happens.
 

viscountalpha

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"below expectations"

Can anyone remember the last AAA publisher who announced that a title met or exceeded expectations? No? That's because it never happens.

It's reminiscent of the 1983 videogame crash where they spent way too much on development. Too many big titles busting bankrupting companies. Development cycle too long and too expensive. Saturated market.
 

Skull_Angel

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Activision seems to now live in a world where millions of dollars is somehow not money.

This is what? The third such statement where an already absurd profit-making enterprise "isn't enough" for them. They are going to "isn't enough" themselves out of all money at the rate they are going.

Well, technically, if you're a millionaire in america, you're still considered poor :D
 

alxlwson

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Interesting. Creating quality content for Destiny 2 is probably not cheap- the voice acting alone probably costs a ton.
I wonder if it comes down to release schedules?
Im also curious how successful they were in getting new customers by offering the base game for free last year. I know it brought me in, as well as buddy from work. We both loved it(I also played the first on Xbox), and both bought Forsaken and season pass.
 

Wiffle

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If only the people addicted to your crap games could quit so easily when you don't "meet their expectations"...

Imagine if your parents decide to get rid of you because you don't "meet their expectations"... "Sorry son, but you don't make enough money, so we are going to have to disown you"

Man life would be so easy if I could just get rid of everything that doesn't meet my expectations.

Not everything you do is guaranteed to be a multi-million dollar blockbuster, but apparently it is when you throw millions of dollars at it and "expect"
 

alxlwson

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If only the people addicted to your crap games could quit so easily when you don't "meet their expectations"...

Imagine if your parents decide to get rid of you because you don't "meet their expectations"... "Sorry son, but you don't make enough money, so we are going to have to disown you"

Man life would be so easy if I could just get rid of everything that doesn't meet my expectations.

Not everything you do is guaranteed to be a multi-million dollar blockbuster, but apparently it is when you throw millions of dollars at it and "expect"


It's sad, really. I am hopeful for Diablo 4 to either be a wonderful MMO like WoW has mostly been, or perhaps even similar to Destiny 2.
 

sirmonkey1985

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this is code for bungie wanted out of their contract and they gave them a plain and simple ultimatum that they were going to get the destiny franchise or else and so activision/blizzard gave it to them.. hell i wouldn't even be suprised if something comes out later from bungie saying that the problems with the original release of destiny 2 was completely decided by activision to push the dlc profits. because quite frankly destiny 2 wasn't a destiny game until Forsaken was released.
 

Exavior

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If only the people addicted to your crap games could quit so easily when you don't "meet their expectations"...

Imagine if your parents decide to get rid of you because you don't "meet their expectations"... "Sorry son, but you don't make enough money, so we are going to have to disown you"

Man life would be so easy if I could just get rid of everything that doesn't meet my expectations.

Not everything you do is guaranteed to be a multi-million dollar blockbuster, but apparently it is when you throw millions of dollars at it and "expect"

Some states allow you to abandon your kids up to age 17, no questions asked at a designated location. So you can do #2 already.
 

Sycraft

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Good I hope bungie goes on to be successful now.

We can hope... but I have my doubts. The whole reason Bungie ended up with Activision is because they got mad at MS. In particular, MS wanted them to just keep pumping out Halo games which isn't a surprise, MS is known for being pretty bad about just wanting more of the same from their studios. So Bungie said "We have a new direction we want to go, and we can't do that under your management, can we leave?" To MS's credit, they let that happen. Rather than be jerks and hang on to the name and have all the talent quit and have a shell, they let them take the company and go. MS kept Halo, of course, but the studio go to go independent. Cool so now, unshackled by their short sighted owner they went on to produce the amazingly new and different... Destiny. A game that is just a Halo clone with a new coat of paint.

I mean seriously guys? This is the amazing idea you had that you could't make with MS? An MMO-lite Halo-type shooter? Ya... To me it seems like they just don't have a lot of creative ideas going around.

Oh and NetEase invested a bunch of money in them and has a minority stake, which is also not a good sign.
 

ShadowXT

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I can't blame Activision. If they don't own the IP, they are really just being a publisher for Bungie. If Bungie was slipping schedule and Activision had to give up their own development team to bring the game back into schedule, they are giving up valuable assets to develop someone else's IP. Sure Activision made money, but if the same assets were re-allocated to other games, they could have made more. They are just weighting the opportunity costs of helping another company develop their game and IP. Their 10 year agreement was coming close to ending by next year, so any additional resources spent on Bungie's games would be wasted. Bungie is now on their own so it's good for both sides. As they say in Thailand, a happy ending is better than no ending.
 

Shadowed

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Destiny 2 DLC prices drove away far too many players. I would have been happy for them to not spend any money on those expensive looking cutscenes and focus on cheaper content or something.

Destiny 1 had the same problem, but I strongly feel it was a significantly better game.

There's a lot of other problems with Destiny 2, but the total cost to own the game + all DLC is insane.
 
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Destiny 2 DLC prices drove away far too many players. I would have been happy for them to not spend any money on those expensive looking cutscenes and focus on cheaper content or something.

Destiny 1 had the same problem, but I strongly feel it was a significantly better game.

There's a lot of other problems with Destiny 2, but the total cost to own the game + all DLC is insane.

I for one, learned from Destiny 1. I'm excited to play D2 but I won't until the final "all inclusive" pack comes out. This nickle and diming (in the range of $30 to $40) every few months is ridiculous and I refuse to buy into it again. I wonder how many others learned from their mistake with D1 and are donig the same?
 

M76

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Of course it wasn't making enough, when your definition of enough is: more.
 

alxlwson

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I for one, learned from Destiny 1. I'm excited to play D2 but I won't until the final "all inclusive" pack comes out. This nickle and diming (in the range of $30 to $40) every few months is ridiculous and I refuse to buy into it again. I wonder how many others learned from their mistake with D1 and are donig the same?


By every few months, you mean once a year?
 

Shadowed

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I for one, learned from Destiny 1. I'm excited to play D2 but I won't until the final "all inclusive" pack comes out. This nickle and diming (in the range of $30 to $40) every few months is ridiculous and I refuse to buy into it again. I wonder how many others learned from their mistake with D1 and are donig the same?

Smart move. Maybe Activision isn't patient enough! I spent $100 on the game and feel burned.

I really hope Bungie will change this situation.
 

alxlwson

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How far apart was Forsaken and Black Armory? September 4th and December 4th. Both very overpriced.

Wasn't BA part of the Season Pass? Didn't the Season Pass launch with the game? I haven't had a chance to read on that
 

exlink

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In other words Bungie didn't make enough money through its microtransactions to satisfy Activision's thirst and most likely didn't want to ruin their game any further by doing so.
 

Shadowed

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Wasn't BA part of the Season Pass? Didn't the Season Pass launch with the game? I haven't had a chance to read on that

The first season pass was not eligible for Forsaken and BA unfortunately. I think Forsaken and BA should have been 1 DLC.

I really felt like most of the money I spent on Forsaken went to the cutscene budget.
 
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I can believe it.

Just because something is making money doesn’t mean it’s worth it.

An investment that earns 1% isn’t nearly as good as one that earns 10%

They cut the cord and moved their capital (money, manpower, and resources) to what they hope will yield higher returns.


and some profit is better than NO profit
 

HeadRusch

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Good I hope bungie goes on to be successful now.

You're desperate to play another version of Halo Multiplayer? Why do we raise these devs up, they've made....Halo and like...Marathon 100 years ago,....what am I missing here....
 

Woody1150

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Wasn't BA part of the Season Pass? Didn't the Season Pass launch with the game? I haven't had a chance to read on that
They revamped the passes when Forsaken was released. There is now the "Annual Pass" that gets you the upcoming seasons. This was an additional cost on top of the cost for the Forsaken DLC.
 
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britjh22

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I think LRR did a great job of digging into the Actiblizzard/Bungie split, really good summary for those who didn't play the games:

 
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