Activision is making a half-billion-dollar bet on a single video game. At a Los Angeles conference last week, CEO Bobby Kotick said that his company would pour $500 million into Destiny, an upcoming massively multiplayer online first-person shooter being developed for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox 360. The game comes from Bungie, the makers of the Halo series, so it has a high pedigree and a mountain of hype. But the figure may still be unprecedented in the gaming industry, especially for a new IP. Activision did not respond to a request for comment.
Typically, lavish budgets are reserved for franchises with proven popularity. Last fall's Grand Theft Auto 5 was estimated to cost $160 million to produce. The Destiny figure dwarfs that, but an Activision spokesperson clarified to Reuters that the budget includes marketing, packaging, infrastructure support, royalties and more. The spokesperson said that the game’s budget will be “roughly in line with other Triple-A titles."
Still, the huge sum shows that Activision is hungry for a new massive franchise. The company’s annual Call of Duty games have been selling less and less in recent years, and Activision’s sales and profits were both down in 2013. In an industry increasingly dependent on blockbusters, Activision is trying to position Destiny as too big to fail.