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Activision Blizzard Explains Why It’s Giving Away ‘Destiny 2’

Destiny 2” active players grew over the past quarter thanks to the release of expansion Forsaken, but Activision Blizzard still isn’t happy with its sales, so it decided to give the game away for two weeks, the company’s COO and president told analysts during an earnings call this week.

At BlizzCon, we announced that ‘Destiny,’ the base game is free for two weeks, meaning download it by November 18, and you get to keep the base game forever,” Activision COO and president Coddy Johnson explained. “We did that because we want the whole community loaded up and able to play it, but also because it’s a live game. And once you’re in it, with the ongoing features and services and content, there’s really deep engagement that takes place. And part of it was also because we have not yet seen the full core reengage in ‘Destiny,’ which has led to the underperformance against our expectations to date. 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 is the time to work and to bring players back in and to win them back.”

Essentially, Activision Blizzard sees the path to making money from “Destiny 2” as a constant drip feed of payments from active players in the game either for cosmetic items or for the expansion packs. It’s the same approach, to some degree, used by massive moneymakers like “Fortnite,” which earns almost all of its money from in-game purchases.

At, issue, Johnson believes, isn’t whether “Destiny 2’s” expansion is any good, but that people aren’t willing to buy the base game to then pay for it.

“Forsaken is a high-quality expansion of content into the universe,” Johnson said. “Honestly, it’s the highest-quality content we’ve seen in the franchise to date. It really came out of Activision and Bungie working together to address community concerns post-‘Destiny 2’ holistically. Talking to players, we knew it came from users really doing a fundamental review of how to offer a deeper end-game, greater powers and greater rewards, and engage players who seemed to be really enjoying the content. In particular, it was very well received both by reviewers and by the community, and has ongoing deepening engagement by those that are playing it.”

But expansions only make money from those who already own the base game, and “Destiny 2” launched without the full support of those who played the original title, which Johnson believes is now hurting the game.

“Some of our other franchises, like ‘Destiny,’ are not performing as well as we’d like, and we’re working to accelerate the pace of live operations innovation and improve the speed with which we release new content to keep our players engaged and to provide new opportunities for monetization,” Johnson said.

It remains to be seen how successful giving the game away will be in terms of spurring more in-game purchases and purchases of Forsaken and future expansion packs. It’s also possible that, if successful, the giveaway of “Destiny 2” will become permanent.

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