Originally, the plan with Destiny 2 was to release the sequel two years after Destiny 1, in the fall of 2016. However, development took longer than expected and Bungie delayed the game to 2017 and released the Rise of Iron expansion in the interim. For most players, the decision was not widely known and didn’t have much of an impact, but financially it actually saved Activision $50 million in royalties.
According to the latest financial report from Activision, the company’s royalty/amortization costs were lower in the nine months ending on September 30, 2017 than the same period in 2016. There were several factors that played a part in Activision’s savings but primarily they were the result of “lower developer royalties and software amortization associated with the Destiny franchise due to the timing of releases.”
While this may seem like the decision to delay Destiny 2 cost Bungie money, the fact is Activision isn’t going to pay royalties on a product that is not yet released. There was likely a royalty deal in place between Activision and Bungie that would reward the release of Destiny 2, but that launch only happened right at the end of the nine months period ending on September 30th.
It is possible, though, that Bungie lost out on those royalties completely by missing the originally Destiny 2 release date. There was talk earlier this year about how Bungie would lose out on money from Activision if the developer further pushed the game back.
Of course, the Destiny 2 community is also looking at this revelation as proof that Bungie pushed microtransactions into the game in an effort to generate additional revenue. $50 million in missed royalties is nothing to scoff at, even if Destiny 2 is the second best selling console game of 2017.
But this theory likely has more to do with players’ frustrations over microtransactions than anything based on truth. The launch of the recent Dawning event has led to a massive backlash against Bungie’s Eververse microtransaction store, to the point that the forums were overloaded with Remove Eververse posts.
Whatever the case may be, this does go to show that there is a lot of money to be had in a video game’s release date, both in terms of sticking to it and delaying away from it.