Activision on Destiny launch: ‘We shouldn’t underestimate the power of UK games retail’

Over 1,000 UK games retailers opened at midnight last night to herald the launch of Destiny.

And Activision’s UK MD Roy Stackhouse says there is no better advert for the power of the High Street retailer.

"UK retail has done an outstanding job," he told MCV last night.

"There is over 1,000 midnight openings tonight. Because of their faith in the game that Bungie has delivered, but also because of the great partnerships we have out there. A lot of these retailers have invested their own time and their own money into last night’s launch.

"Every retail partner we have has really stepped up on Destiny. We should not underestimate the power games retail still has in the UK. Because of that, and because of the game that we have got – which is sensational – I am very optimistic."

According to GAME and GameStop, Destiny is the most pre-ordered new IP in video games history. It’s quite an achievement and many have cited the game’s beta as a reason for the sudden surge in interest.

Yet Stackhouse insists the Beta wasn’t intended as a marketing plot.

"There has been various stage posts over the last 12 months that once people have got a better idea of what Destiny is about, and a better idea of the game mechanics and what you can and can’t do, we have been able to create the momentum that has built up to tonight," he told us.

"The beta was obviously a crucial part of that. But the main reason for the beta was for Bungie to be able to test the service out. They have just opened this huge world and they needed to make sure it is robust. It is always difficult to select one thing that made the difference, but from the Beta we did see a big bump in pre-orders. And you saw the announcement from GameStop in the US and GAME in the UK. That is great news."

"The main reason for the beta was for Bungie to be
able to test the service out."
– Roy Stackhouse, Activision

The last new IP to perform so well so quickly was Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs. The game became the fastest selling new IP in history, but beyond that sales have slowed quite a bit. Stackhouse, however, is bullish that the same fate won’t befall Destiny.

"We have already come and said there will be two expansion packs to follow, one before Christmas and one after," he pointed out. "And we glimpsed during our open Beta, and there was 4.6m people who played it, that when people got their hands on it, the feedback is superb. . When people get their hands on the game and start playing it and discovering how different it is… I think that will bring longevity to it.

The reviews are also still to arrive, with editors holding off their Destiny scores until they can play the game with everyone on the servers. Yet Stackhouse does not feel this will necessarily create a second wind for Destiny’s sales.

"I’m more excited, to be honest, about the consumers getting it," he added plainly.

"There’s something like 3m people up to this point on social media and Destiny fan sites that already feels like they’re part of this family. And when that translates into people actually playing the game, you will see this word of mouth. I think that is what will drive sales."

"I just think that with Call of Duty the pre-orders
have come a little bit later."
– Roy Stackhouse, Activision

Destiny’s impressive performance comes in contrast to the slower-than-expected pre-orders of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The firm last month said that pre-orders had been softer on the shooter, with orders not picking up until Gamescom.

"Destiny is a new IP that has had an awful lot of momentum over the last 12 months," added Stackhouse.

"What Sledgehammer has been able to achieve with Call of Duty on a three year development cycle, and once we have been able to go out and tell the whole community what’s new and what’s great about the game’s campaign and multiplayer… Call of Duty had a phenomenal Gamescom and the feedback we have had on the multiplayer has been exceptional.

"I just think that with Call of Duty the pre-orders have come a little bit later. We have this huge fan base out there that just wanted to see a little bit more, and we have now fed that. What I think you will see is that same momentum we have seen for Destiny to come across to Call of Duty."

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