Activision Blizzard will spend $500 million to launch the upcoming Destiny, the next sci-fi epic from the studio behind Halo. According to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, who revealed the sum at the Milken conference in Los Angeles last week, the number includes both development and marketing costs. In 2010 the publisher signed a 10 year deal with Destiny creator Bungie in hopes of launching the next big gaming property.
"The stakes for us are getting bigger."
"If you're making a $500 million bet you can't take that chance with someone else's IP," Kotick said. "The stakes for us are getting bigger." Video game budgets are typically murky, so finding a direct comparison is difficult, but Destiny's budget appears to be among the highest ever for a video game. In 2009 Activision reportedly spent $200 million launching Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Last year's blockbuster Grand Theft Auto V, meanwhile, cost a reported £170 million (more than $280 million). It went on to earn $1 billion in just three days.
While Destiny's budget appears staggeringly large by comparison, Activision sees it as an investment in what could be a long running multiplayer franchise. A company spokesperson told Reuters that the $500 million is an investment in "robust backend infrastructure... that should reduce future product development costs." Destiny is slated to launch on September 9th, for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.