Bungie’s upcoming Destiny sci-fi video game is on track to become Activision Blizzard’s next $1 billion franchise, said chief executive Bobby Kotick said today in an analyst conference call.
Kotick said that preorders for Destiny show that it could be one of the biggest launches of all time. The sci-fi shooter is due to arrive on a number of platforms Sept. 9. The statements show — and reinforce — that Activision Blizzard is all about betting big on blockbuster video games.
“We expect it to be the biggest new intellectual property launch in history,” said chief financial officer Dennis Durkin in the conference call.
Activision Blizzard is spending an estimated $500 million on marketing, development, and other costs for Destiny, according to Kotick. That’s a lot of money, but Activision Blizzard has $4.3 billion in cash.
Destiny is one of six major game releases coming in the second half of the year.
Eric Hirshberg, the chief executive of Activision Publishing, said in the call that game sales for the Xbox 360/PS3 generation have been dropping even as sales climb for the new consoles.
He said that Destiny will have multiple ways to play, with multiplayer and single-player.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is scheduled to debut on Nov. 4. It’s under development from Sledgehammer Games and is the first COD to benefit from a three-year development cycle. Hirshberg said it is expected to be the biggest Call of Duty game yet. He said he was also excited about launching Call of Duty Online in China with partner Tencent. But he gave no date for that launch.
Mike Morhaime, the head of Blizzard Entertainment, said that Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has been downloaded more than 10 million times on the PC and it is at the top of the free apps rankings on the iPad. He said new Hearthstone content will be coming this summer.
World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is coming this fall as an expansion for World of Warcraft, and he said people have preorded more than 1 million copies already, even if Blizzard lost another 200,000 players this quarter.
He also said Blizzard is working on launching Heroes of the Storm (an online multiplayer strategy game), and it will become Blizzard’s fifth active game on its Battle.net gaming network. He said that tickets for Blizzard’s BlizzCon event go on sale tomorrow.