Activision Bungie Contract Terms Revealed and Detailed
In light of the recent Activision/Infinity Ward legal drama, another deal (also involving Activision) is taking place that has me shouting “WHAT?!” at my computer screen about every new detail I find.
In what Develop calls “one of the biggest game contracts in the modern age”, an outline for the next ten or so years of Bungie’s existence has been drawn up. If you’ve heard anything about it, Comet and Destiny are the codenames of the two projects — Destiny being the main game trilogy and Comet being a “major downloadable content expansion pack-type software releases developed by the licensor for each Destiny Game”, which there will be four of — that Bungie will be developing for the Xbox 360 and Xbox 720, and the first installment should hit shelves in 2013.
This basically confirms that the “720″ will be out by then, or that Activison is counting its chickens a little early. Either way, it’s an interesting point — in the sense that one of the most popular developers is shacking up with the largest publisher in the industry — to this dull contract.
Some other points that Develop highlights from the contract (linked above) include Bungie having full ownership over the Destiny IP (with a couple of stipulations), Bonuses for: the project being completed on time and within budget, the Metacritic score being 90% or above, if Activision makes $750 million of operating income during a twelve month period, royalty terms, and the budget for the game ($140 million, which includes advertising and marketing).
Bungie also isn’t allowed to work on Marathon until the Destiny project makes $375 million in operating income. Which seems reasonable, Activision wants Bungie to work on Destiny and make it good before they start working on other projects that Activision may or may not have any stake in — which, if the relationship does well, I can definitely see Bungie staying with Activision for a while.
This deal is just business as usual for Activision, replacing Infinity Ward after the recent falling out. However it’s a really sweet, almost sinful deal that will certainly make both parties a lot of money. So other than possible breaches of the contract, I don’t see this being a terribly huge problem.
You can read the full contract over at the LA Times if you speak legal.