"Destiny ... is all but assured of a solid Metacritic [a site that summarizes game critics reviews] rating. We expect between 88–92 and solid unit sales," Pachter said. "We believe that Bungie's history of high Metacritic scores, the positive reception from the open beta, and the huge marketing budget for the game will limit downside."
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While "Destiny" seems poised to be a lucrative franchise for Activision, it may not help the bottom line quite as much as the company's other hit series.
Terms of the deal that were revealed in the midst of the publisher's legal wrangling with a pair of former developers are quite favorable toward Bungie. Industry insiders call the agreement "unprecedented."
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In the contract, (which may have been amended since this 2012 court filing), Bungie is entitled to royalties ranging from 20 percent to 35 percent of the game's operating income—the amount left over after Activision recoups its costs.
Bungie retained full ownership of the game's intellectual property. (Activision wholly owns "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft.") Additionally, the publisher is responsible for several million dollars in bonuses over the course of the years covered by the deal.
"Destiny is the game we've always wanted to make," Bungie President Harold Ryan said. "For us, the next generation of games is all about allowing players to collide and interact with each other as they take on epic, action-packed adventures all their own."
—By Chris Morris, special to CNBC