Breaking News: Bungie and Activision Split
Looks like the shackles are off for Bungie! That’s right, Bungie and Activision split!
Just recently (and rather unexpectedly), Bungie, the company behind the much-loved Halo and Destiny franchises, decided to part ways with Activision, taking the full publishing rights of the Destiny with them moving forward. With this surprise announcement happening just this afternoon, it’s certainly good news for Bungie. However, this may signal the slow crumble of Activision.
Who knows? Maybe there’s hope for Blizzard as well!
How did the Bungie and Activision split start?
Bungie, the former Microsoft development studio that’s responsible for bringing us the Halo trilogy of games acquired a decade-long deal with Activision, which will see the publisher take charge of bringing its games to market across multiple platforms. Bungie was still an independent studio that’s setting out to build a brand new experience and the gaming industry was a pretty different place, so they had to search for a partner who was willing to take a big leap of faith with them. The company ultimately chose Activision because of their global reach, multi-platform experience, and proven marketing expertise.
But ever since the deal for Destiny began in 2010, talks from behind the scenes have often suggested a rather strained relationship between Bungie and Activision. Now that we live in an era of free-to-play games like Fortnite and Warframe, and the proliferation of business models and designs that have altered the way developers earn money, it no longer makes sense for Bungie to remain under the shadow of a large publisher like Activision.
What are the reactions of fans and YouTubers alike?
When fans heard of this news, they were beyond ecstatic. Tons of Bungie fans from Reddit even complained about Bungie’s contract with Activision way before the announcement was made. To fans of the game made by Bungie, they see Activision as a publisher that “doesn’t care” about the contents of a game as long as it generates the appropriate amount of revenue. Clearly, Activision seems to be the bad guys here as they constantly push gaming companies with their demands—like adding micro-transactions within the game.
Activision influences some decisions in Bungie’s gaming content and, truth be told, games have not been as good as they used to be because of that. Even popular YouTube personalities like boogie2988, who provides gaming weekly news, agreed that Activision simply does not care about the passion that folks over at Bungie poured into the making of the Destiny franchise. What they’re doing is simply trying to use the games that they have as a way to milk more money from the players for themselves. Heck, there’s even a YouTube video that’s got more than a million views titled “The Downfall of Bungie | How Activision Destroyed Their Destiny”. That says a lot as it clearly paints a picture of how the old Bungie that we knew and loved so well has now become a husk of their former selves. And that’s all because of, you guessed it, Activision.
Activision is also blamed for Destiny’s constant struggles with post-launch monetization as the Eververse store has gone through a billion iterations at this point, overcrowding content with its loot boxes. At this point, are loot boxes still even a thing?
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What lies ahead for the future of Bungie?
While Bungie does not have many specifics to reveal, their plan to move forward without Activision seems to have been in the works for a while. They’re painting this announcement as good news. While they do indeed thank Activision for their help and support over the years, it’s clear that they feel it’s high time to create good games again. Bungie has sealed the news in this statement:
With Forsaken, we’ve learned, and listened, and leaned into what we believe our players want from a great ‘Destiny’ experience. Rest assured there is more of that on the way. We’ll continue to deliver on the existing Destiny roadmap, and we’re looking forward to releasing more seasonal experiences in the coming months, as well as surprising our community with some exciting announcements about what lies beyond.
To say Bungie is excited about this is an understatement. According to Kotaku writer, Jason Schreier, employees were cheering and popping champagne when the news was announced, noting that the Activision deal had been a thorn in the studio’s side ever since the first game’s release. There are some considerations, however, on the technical and practical side of things concerning this announcement.
For one, Bungie is now an independent company, meaning all the funding they will need moving forward will be coming out of their own pocket. Furthermore, development and release dates may also be affected since Activision has always had a hand on the timely releases back then. While it may be a rocky start for Bungie, we can only hope that things will get better for everyone within the company so they can shine once more, just as they did back then.
Is Bungie leaving Activision a sign for other gaming companies?
As we know, Blizzard has also been under fire ever since the company shook hands with Activision. Blizzard was once what other game companies looked up to—what they ultimately aspired to be. Since their deal with Activision, players on games like Hearthstone have started dwindling, over a hundred of Blizzard staff opted to leave the company due to buyouts, the Battle of Azeroth expansion for WoW turned out to be the worst one yet (thanks to micro-transactions), and the Heroes of the Storm esports league was shut down by Blizzard because of a lack of players and competition between two giant MOBAs like DOTA 2 and League of Legends. Perhaps the most innovative game they have released thus far was Overwatch, a competitive team-based shooter.
Things are looking grim for Blizzard to say the least, and things aren’t getting better. 2019 just may be the beginning of the slow collapse of what was considered a reputable gaming company that created our gaming childhood. The split between Bungie and Activision is a shock. We can only hope that they can get back on their feet and escape the clutches of Activision, but only time will tell if they too, will take note of the actions that need to be taken from this massive wake up call.
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