news 2 months ago

Activision Blizzard Stock Plummets Following Break With ‘Destiny’ Developer

Variety — Brian Crecente

Activision Blizzard stock continued its plummet Friday morning following news Thursday night that Bungie was ending its contract with the publisher and retaining the rights to its “Bungie” franchise.

Stock fell nearly 7% in postmarket trading Thursday night and continued to drop Friday morning, down about 12% as of this writing.

It’s unclear why the two companies terminated their ten-year contract early, but a joint statement released Thursday made it seem as if the separation was amicable.

“We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on Destiny,” Bungie wrote in a post on its site Thursday. “Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for Destiny to Bungie. With our remarkable Destiny community, we are ready to publish on our own, while Activision will increase their focus on owned IP projects.”

In the joint statement released by Activision and Bungie Thursday, the companies also said that going forward Bungie will own and develop the franchise, and Activision will “increase its focus on owned IP and other projects.

Currently, Activision is known to be working on a new Call of Duty title, “Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy,” and “Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled.” Blizzard continues support for a slew of its biggest titles including “Overwatch,” “Hearthstone,” and the “World of Warcraft,” “StarCraft,” and “Diablo” franchises. King is actively supporting “Legend of Solgard” and “Candy Crush Friends Saga.” Activision Blizzard is also acting as publisher for FromSoftware-developed “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.” The company also has extensive interest in esports through a number of its franchises, most notably “Overwatch” and “Call of Duty.”

The original “Destiny” was developed by Bungie and published by Activision as part of a ten-year agreement between the two companies. Development on the game started in 2010. The original title was released in 2014, the sequel, “Destiny 2,” was released in 2017.

In announcing the “Destiny” news Thursday, Bungie noted that the game industry was in a pretty different place when the two companies first launched their partnership in 2010.

Thursday’s news came in the midst of an executive shuffle at Activision Blizzard that saw the departure of two executives and the company naming new heads for Activision, Blizzard, and King.