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Activision and Bungie Reach New Lows with Destiny Marketing

I remember being disgusted with the Mountain Dew, Doritos, and other marketing gimmicks with previous AAA titles. Destiny, which is a game made by Bungie and published by Activision, has decided to go on the same embarrassing product placement path as previous AAA games. This time around they are trying to force players to buy cans of Red Bull in order to unlock “exclusive” content in Destiny. This content will include a thirty minute experience boost by 50%. Which means you can drink a can of Red Bull every thirty minutes for a continuous experience boost. They are also promoting an “Epic New Quest”, which is a “never-before-seen, multi-stage mission in The Taken King” expansion. This new quest is also locked behind the Red Bull pay wall (until the end of 2015 at least).

Many gamers online were recently enraged by the annoying business practices that Bungie and Activision have made. The Taken King expansion is going to cost $40 by itself. That’s a pretty steep price to pay for an expansion, since the previous ones were only $20. They are promising that this pack will have much more meat to it than previous expansions, so maybe people still might get their money’s worth out of it. The bigger problem though is their pricing model for their other editions of the game. Newcomers can buy a special “complete” edition of Destiny, which includes the game itself, the previous two expansions, and the newest expansion “The Taken King”. If you bought Destiny at launch for $60 and picked up the previous two expansions for $20 a piece, you already invested $100 into the game. So early adopters are essentially paying up to $140 for a “complete” Destiny experience.

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Games are definitely getting expensive to play these days, and when companies are asking you to pay this much for a single game AND feel strong-armed into buying cans of Red Bull to experience everything there is to offer, this just comes across as a sleazy business move. What makes things even more confusing is that there is a “Collector’s Edition” of The Taken King that sells for $80. In this copy you get everything the game has to offer in the $60 version, but you also get bonus art prints, a special metal case, three exotic class items, three specific emotes, and three armor shaders. So what if you already bought Destiny and its expansions and want to have any of this exclusive stuff? Well, you basically have to buy everything all over again. You can’t buy any of this stuff separately, according to this interview on Eurogamer:

Eurogamer: Final question on prices –

Luke Smith: Is it also the final question on the emotes?

Eurogamer: I’m not going to mention them again. I can’t get them.

Luke Smith: But you can if you buy the Collector’s Edition.

Eurogamer: I’m not going to buy the game and the two DLCs all over again.

Luke Smith: Okay, but first I want to poke at you on this a little bit.

Eurogamer: Poke at me?

Luke Smith: You’re feeling anxious because you want this exclusive content but you don’t know yet how much you want it. The notion of spending this money is making you anxious, I can see it –

Eurogamer: I do want them. I would buy them –

Luke Smith: If I fired up a video right now and showed you the emotes you would throw money at the screen.

Eurogamer: What I’m saying is that fan frustration is not because they don’t understand the proposition. It comes regardless of how cool the exclusive content is. The frustration – and mine as a fan – is that the method of acquiring it requires me to re-buy content I bought a year ago.

Luke Smith: [Long pause] It’s about value. The player’s assessment of the value of the content.

According to this interview. Bungie and Activision are hoping that there are people desperate enough to buy everything twice. They want you to “throw money at the screen” to get a hold of their exclusive items. They want you to buy countless cans of Red Bull to level up your characters, weapons, gear and to play exclusive missions. They know that early adopters of Destiny that continue to play are willing to pay twice as much for an expansion pack.

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Who am I kidding though, I have played a ton of Destiny. Doing the raids with friends has been a blast. Finding new guns and armor pieces have kept me wanting to play to try out all of my “new toys”. It’s been a fun game for me. I just wish the people behind this game could show their fans a little bit of respect. When I look at these marketing leaks, they are clearly mocking us. They are practically saying that they are in disbelief that people are stupid enough to fall for all of this. It sucks that I have to be in the group that they are referring to in these marketing materials. I am going to continue playing Destiny of course, because I already paid for everything and got my enjoyment out of it.

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Image found via Reddit

What about Destiny 2? Will I buy that when it comes out? Personally, I don’t think I will pick up another Destiny after this one. The idea of starting over doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. I should have known that Destiny was going to take a turn for the worst when a company like Activision is behind it. They are one of the sleaziest publishers out there. I will continue getting my enjoyment out of Destiny for as long as I can, but after this I am definitely going to move on to a different franchise by a publisher who doesn’t take my money while insulting me at the same time.

Edward Hyman

Besides gaming, I'm really into technology in general.