It's a divorce that will make less noise than the boss of Amazon Jeff Bezos, but in the world of video games, this separation is an event. The Bungie studio announced it was ending its collaboration, started more than eight years ago, with Activision, one of the global giants of the sector.

Bungie, who owns the Destiny franchise, becomes fully independent and will develop and self-publish the next game of this very popular license. At the launch of the first game in 2014, Activision said it had invested $ 500 million, including marketing expenses, to develop the title and promote the brand. A huge budget for the industry.

For Activision, it's a hard blow. In all, more than 50 million games of the entire Destiny franchise have sold since the launch of the first title in 2014 (titles on which Activision retains its rights). Initially, it was expected that two new Destiny games will be marketed by 2020.

Activision falls sharply on the stock market

" Destiny is one of the few licenses in the industry that can reach $ 1 billion in revenues and is one of the biggest titles in Activision's catalog that owns its other major franchises: Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Overwatch "Says Charles-Louis Planade, video game financial analyst at Midcap Partners.

(c) Bloomberg screenshot
(c) Bloomberg screenshot

Not enough to reassure Wall Street. On the stock market, the title Activision down more than 10% mid-session this Friday. That's a decline in capitalization of nearly $ 4 billion.

" Other big players in the sector who do not own the intellectual property of some of their headlines could also experience this type of mishap in the future ", Points Charles-Louis Planade. " Only Ubisoft, which owns the rights to 100% of the games it publishes, is safe. The company has long been criticized for having too much internalized and too many employees. But what just happened with Activision validates this strategy. "

Bungie raised $ 100 million last summer

Founded in early 1990, Bungie was acquired by Microsoft in 2000 and later developed the game Halo. What has become one of the flagship titles of the giant Xbox lounge console of Redmond. In 2007, the studio then bought the majority of its capital to emancipate Microsoft (which had, him, the rights of Halo). Three years later, Bungie signed an agreement with Activision.

Last summer, the group raised $ 100 million in a round table with the Chinese video gaming NetEase. " They have significant mobile experience that we do not have Said Pete Parsons, Bungie's CEO. Above all, the studio has enough cash in the coffers to assume development and promotion of the next episode of Destiny.

" When we started our partnership with Activision in 2010, the video game industry was a very different place. As an independent studio […] to launch a game of this magnitude (Destiny, Ed) we needed the support of an established publisher partner "Rewinds the group in its press release entitled" Our destiny ".

But relying on a giant in the sector is no longer a pressing need today. The reason ? " The multiplication of online sales platforms like the Epic Games Store gives ideas to some studios that have created successful games. believes Charles-Louis Planade. " For them, relying on a publisher to promote and sell the game has become less necessary today ". Activision has learned to its cost.

Nicolas Richaud