The Tower has been decked out for the Festival of the Lost.

Halloween event, earnings report show ‘Destiny’ has strong future

“Destiny” players have been chasing after candy and wearing masks during the game’s Festival of the Lost. But today, Activision Blizzard lifted its own mask in order to thump its chest about earnings. The company released numbers specific to “Destiny” during a third-quarter earnings report today, and it shows that the future of the game looks generally strong.

The big highlight of the company’s announcement was the acquisition of King Digital Entertainment for $5.9 billion with a B. Other games’ success got some ink as well, including stable subscriptions for “World of Warcraft,” increases for the “Call of Duty” franchise, more toys sold for “Skylanders” and success for a “Hearthstone” expansion.

But the “Destiny” news was particularly interesting, mainly for a few new statistics it revealed:

  • Day one downloads of “The Taken King” expansion broke Playstation records, and day-one engagement saw the highest number of active players in the game’s history.
  • Players play for about three hours a day. (Only three? WTH?)
  • The community now has more than 25 million registered players, and the game is the most watched console game on Twitch.

Others have covered the business perspective thoroughly. Jason Schreier of Kotaku has an in-depth, hilarious list of all the ways Activision touts the success of the game without revealing the one stat that would unequivocally tout the success of the game. And Dave Thier, of Forbes (which has a surprisingly awesome level of “Destiny” coverage) pointed out how unclear the number of registered players is.

But the earnings statement, combined with the current state of the game, show that the future of “Destiny” is strong, and that the game will remain in its current state for at least about another year (until the release of a “Destiny” sequel).

The current state includes in-game microtransactions that let people buy cosmetic items such as emotes and — well, just emotes for now. In the announcement, Bungie said that the revenue from emotes would be used for additional content. Festival of the Lost was the game’s first execution of that concept.

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Petra Venj clearly does not appreciate my costume.

The festival highlighted Eva Levante, the vendor who collects shaders and emblems, handing out empty candy satchels and masks of other characters. In a nutshell: put on a mask, get kills, fill your satchel with candy. Trade the candy for new masks, power-ups and other items, including an item that lets you respawn in a flurry of bats. Adding to the fun was a trick-or-treat session where you got to see the masks other characters were wearing, and where Eris Morn gives you raisins. RAISINS.

Additionally, Eva gave players three quests filled with activities to be done while wearing certain masks. Some were challenging, such as having to do a heroic strike while enduring the lower light level that comes with wearing a mask, to hilarious, such as jumping off the Tower wearing an Atheon mask. (My only disappointment: Seriously, Bungie, no emblem for finishing the three quests? SERIOUSLY?)

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Combine a jackolyte with an Oryx mask to look like a demon hellbunny.

All of that content came without a painful download or price tag. Players could buy the equivalent of full candy satchels, but everything that had a gameplay effect could be earned by playing the game. The experience, which ends on Nov. 9, has been awesome.

It’s important to note that all that is not the same thing as a full expansion, such as “The Taken King.” Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg told journalists that both microtransactions and paid expansions are in the game’s future, and that both get along just fine with players.

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Buzzkill. Totes gonna egg the everloving crap outta your ship.

This is a glimpse into “Destiny’s” future for the rest of the year. Not everything about the future is rosy, however — some have made a connection between the new microtransactions and a recent nerf to weapon parts and Strange Coins. Activision also has a history of making gamers nervous. And Hirshberg didn’t rule out changing that co-existence and pushing more toward the microtransactions.

But as things stand right now, “Destiny’s” future looks strong. Combine all this with new exotic weapon requests, a slog of a new raid and the return of Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris, and players get a good formula for continued gameplay. As long as the company stays in good health and sticks with its current state, “Destiny” will continue to be a rewarding playing experience.

What could possibly go wrong?

Joe Hadsall
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Writer, reporter, magician, geek. Joe Hadsall is the features editor for The Joplin Globe, where he is the king of geeks in southwest Missouri, and is loving how the popularity of geek culture has led to more people understanding his jokes. He tweets a lot about Destiny, mobile devices, the New Orleans Saints and more at @JoeHadsall.

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