By Jamaal Ryan
Just a few months ago, Destiny was more of an idea than what you’d expect from a game that was said to have a $500 million dollar budget behind it. Destiny’s relevance was solely based off of the name of the developer behind it rather than tangible footage or press previews that explicitly illustrated what Destiny was all about.
“I don’t know what this game actually is” was a quote I heard over and over again for the past year. Sure its strike mission gameplay reveal was at Sony’s 2013 E3 press conference; sure there was a dev diary on the competitive multiplayer, but neither showed anything all that novel or interesting, which was concerning coming from the studio that’s largely responsible for the shooter genre on home consoles as we know it.
Then came the Destiny alpha which changed many opinions of the press and fans alike. “I don’t know what this game actually is” quickly changed to “I’m a believer”, paralleling their experience to milestones such as Phantasy Star and Guild Wars 2 mixed with Halo and Call of Duty. It was a springboard to begin a real discussion for Destiny.
Today marks the second day of the Sony platform Destiny Beta, and word is all over the gaming community. Getting into the beta might have been a bit bumpy, but Destiny works, it’s deep, and it’s fun.
While gamers look to toil around the Crucible battle grounds and the decrepit Old Russia for the next week, Activision is watching their experiment take its course. Seeing games like Watch Dogs and Wolfenstein do so well on new hardware is a strong indicator that system owners are hungry for games to play. The Destiny Beta couldn’t have hit at a better time, with literally no major game releases in its beta window. In fact, Destiny will be the first major release outside of Metro Redux after the beta closes next week. This helps keep Destiny in the conversation as the beta will be fresh in the minds of many gamers by the time September 9th rolls around.
The beta also ostensibly clenched many sales of the game through preorders. Gating beta keys behind required preorders, the beta asks for players to buy in before trying. And while it reeks of the preorder bonus nature that the industry has gone in from Alien Isolation’s Crew Expendable to what we might see from GameStop getting involved in game development, what the Destiny Beta has to show off is impressive, perhaps impressive enough to ignore that we’ve fallen right into Activision’s plan.
With no major release between now and September, and likely a high volume of preorders, Activision’s marketing strategy for Destiny is tactful and seemingly effective thus far. Bravo Activision.