Analyst Michael Pachter talks about future content plans for Destiny.
Bungie’s Destiny has become an unprecedented success for the company despite several issues that have arisen since launch. Given that many gamers expected a sprawling space epic, akin to Borderlands meets Halo, the low amount of content has been a major issue. This was somewhat mitigated with The Dark Below expansion but for a $20 DLC, it included one new Raid, a few new Exotics, three new Story missions, one new Strike, three new PvP maps and an increased Light level cap (not to mention periodic Nightfalls and Weeklies that can only be played if you have the DLC). While this sounds good on paper, it pales in comparison to what other MMO-like games have offered. So what’s coming next?
GamingBolt recently spoke to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter about his thoughts on the same. Activision has already confirmed that a sequel will be happening but what has Pachter heard regarding other future plans for Destiny, especially the major content update rumoured to be happening in Fall?
“You know, Activision’s management told me that they’re – they and Bungie – are trying to keep Destiny’s revenues about flat every year this year and going forward every year until Destiny 2 comes out. It’s going to be more than just map packs and levelling up. This major content drop is going to be more like a World of WarCraft expansion, so probably more like a $40 ten level cap change as opposed to a $20 two level cap change. That’s really what they intend to do.”
Pachter also said he’s unsure about the frequency of the $20 expansions but that there may be at least a four month gap between each one. “I don’t know how frequently we’re going to see the $20 versions, but my guess is that you’ll see two $20 expansions and one $40 expansion each year, so kind of pace it out that way. Every four months, you get something like that. So I think that the goal is to keep that 3.5 to 5.5 million daily active player group spending $60 to $80 a year.
“Maybe you can sell the $40 expansion and one $20 expansion to each of them. That’s like selling them a new game every year, and Destiny maybe ends up generating 5 million units at $60. I think that’s their plan, and I think if you really like Destiny, that’s just like buying Call of Duty every year. That’s not that big a deal.
“I don’t think Destiny is ever going to be as big as Call of Duty, but I think the plan is, as people get next gen consoles – there were 3.5 million daily active players back in November, they said it was higher now, my guess is 5, like I said – and I think their goal is by year end it’s 7. And by year end ‘16, it’s 9, and then by year end ‘17 it’s 11, and then the next Destiny sells 20 million copies and then they start again.”
This isn’t exactly a new business plan that Bungie and Activision stumbled upon. EA has been selling games as a service for quite some time now with FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode. “You know, I think that it’s a smart and new business model. I mean, it’s essentially taking the MMO subscription model and turning it into a pay-as-you-go for content model, and it might work. I think it’s an interesting new business model. You’ll hear all the publishers talk about something called “games as a service”, essentially that means subscription games. They would really love to morph into that, but none of them wants to give up that $60 initial sale. So FIFA Ultimate Team is that. They keep selling you stuff but you need to buy the game in order to play it. Destiny is that, it’s just that the stuff that they’re selling you is in a big package that costs $20 or $40.
“So, yeah, I think you’ll probably get two expansions at $20 this year and one at $40, and as I said, I think they’ll probably be timed, something like April, August, and November. You know, something like that. Whatever comes out to four months.”
Currently, Bungie has given a Q2 2015 release to the next expansion, House of Wolves. Between April and June, when could it possibly arrive? Many players at this point are assuming June. However, Pachter states that, “They might only do one because they did one in December, so the game launches in September, the content drops are going to be in December, May, and November, but then the next year I think it will probably be January, June, and November. I think they’re going to try to space it out so they always keep you engaged.
“That’s the point. They learned from World of WarCraft that if you do a content drop every two years, you lose subscribers and then they all come back when there’s a new content drop. Not all, but many of them come back. With Destiny, they try to keep you going.”
There’s also the matter of only one major update – patch 1.1.2 – being left for Destiny prior to the release of expansion. If it arrives in April, then House of Wolves will still be out in May or so one would hope. What are your thoughts on all of this? Let us know in the comments below.
Update: It should be noted that Pachter’s thoughts regarding Destiny receiving a WoW-like expansion each year (or in this case, the Fall) along with smaller expansions is speculation based on what World of Warcraft does in terms of level caps and raids, which make up content that could be monetized. Activision has confirmed flat revenues from the game in 2015, 2016 and 2017 barring any new release but how it would reach that goal has yet to be revealed.