Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick expects Destiny, the new game from Halo creators Bungie, to become the "best-selling new video game IP in history." Speaking during Activision's fourth quarter earnings call yesterday, Kotick said the first-person shooter, due out on Xbox and PlayStation consoles on September 9th, has "the potential to be [Activision's] next billion-dollar franchise."
Those record sales will be helped along by a strong start for Microsoft and Sony's new consoles. Activision Publishing CEO, Eric Hirshberg, said during the earnings call that although the publisher expected the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 to generate "headwinds" in the video game market, sales of games on the new machines were "higher than expected." But, as with competitor EA, Activision Blizzard has suffered a greater-than-expected dip in sales of "current-gen" software.
'Destiny' has the potential to be Activision's "next billion dollar franchise"
Hirshberg also announced that game in the Call of Duty franchise would be given three year development periods, rather than the two years they were given before. To cover the gap and ensure at least one new Call of Duty game is released every year, Sledgehammer Games will join Treyarch and Infinity Ward in making alternating games in the shooter series. Sledgehammer is currently at work on the upcoming entry in the series, due out later this year, having previously worked with Infinity Ward on 2011's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
The publisher is also planning to push the Call of Duty brand in China. Kotick gave an overview of a partnership with Chinese giant Tencent that will soon bring a free-to-play CoD — Call of Duty Online — to the country. In the west, both Destiny and Sledgehammer's new Call of Duty will launch in 2014. Dennis Durkin, Activision Blizzard's chief financial officer, also mentioned a third "major game release" to come from World of Warcraft and StarCraft creators Blizzard. Details of exactly what that game might be are yet to be revealed.