Following Activision’s suggestion that Destiny 2 has fallen short of sales expectations, Bungie has come forward to defend the game’s success.
“We are not disappointed with Forsaken,” said Destiny 2 director Luke Smith via Twitter. “We set out to build a game that Destiny players would love, and at Bungie, we love it too. Building Destiny for players who love it is and will remain our focus going forward.”
Interestingly, Smith doesn’t seem to be commenting on Destiny 2‘s actual sales. Instead, he seems to be focusing on how creatively satisfied Bungie is with Destiny 2‘s Forsaken expansion. While that expansion has been well received, the original comments from Publisher Activision suggested they aren’t happy with how Destiny 2 is selling.
“We have not yet seen the full core re-engage in Destiny, which has kind of led to the underperformance against our expectations to date,” said Activision COO Coddy Johnson during a recent earnings call. “Some players we think are still in wait-and-see mode. So when you’re in, you’re deeply engaged. If you’re not, we’re hoping now’s the time to bring players back in and win them back.”
Johnson actually touches on a few interesting points there. First off, it really does feel like the problem with Destiny 2 in terms of its sales is the fact that many of those who initially got into Destiny didn’t really bother to make the leap to Destiny 2. Ever since Destiny 2 was announced, many wondered if fans everywhere were going to be willing to abandon all of the progress they had made in Destiny in favor of starting over fresh and purchasing a new game (plus expansions) again. It appears that quite a few players may not have made that leap.
The other phrase Johnson used that is important to pay attention to is “wait-and-see mode.” He’s essentially saying that the belief is that players are still waiting to hear if Destiny 2 becomes a must-play game. So far as that goes, we do have to wonder whether or not there will be anyone release or event that catapults Destiny 2 to that level following its somewhat rocky launch. Many people say that the game’s Forsaken expansion is the best in franchise history, but it seems even that hasn’t been enough to elevate the game’s player count to the levels Activision was expecting.
This all certainly helps to explain why Activision/Bungie has been giving away Destiny 2 for free on PC and elsewhere, but it doesn’t really answer questions regarding where Destiny goes from here. We’re going to assume that there’s going to be one more major Destiny 2 expansion before Bungie starts preparing for Destiny 3. Even if it’s as good of an expansion as Forsaken was, will that be enough to draw players back in? Don’t forget that Destiny‘s formerly niche market is getting more crowded with the impending release of Anthem and the continued success of free-to-play alternative, Warframe.
As for Bungie, insiders have hinted that the studio wants to make Destiny 3 more “hardcore” in order to appease the series’ biggest fans, but declining sales numbers may force them to appeal to a wider range of players.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.