What Sterne Agee says: As usual, Activision Blizzard (ATVI) will not be hosting a press conference at E3, but will have a large booth and be hosting investor meetings at the conference. Destiny could have a prominent presence at the booth and be marketed heavily at E3 given its upcoming Sept. 9 launch. The title is expected to be released on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, as well as Xbox 360 and PS3. Sales of Destiny to retail outlets could reach 8 million units this year. Street expectations range from 6 million to 10 million units.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare meanwhile may be highlighted at the Microsoft and Sony press conferences as well as at the Activision booth.
This year's Skylanders title, Skylanders Trap Team, seems quite innovative and will likely have a strong presence at E3. But it will still be important to keep an eye on competing products from Disney (DIS) Infinity and potentially from Nintendo's Nintendo interactive figurines. Another Activision title to keep watching will be its free-to-play PC title Heroes of the Storm.
What Enders Analysis's Heloise Thomson says: Destiny is finally going to hit the shelves in the third quarter of 2014 and the campaign behind that is going to be massive. Activision revealed that the development, marketing, packaging and royalties costs for Destiny could reach $500 million, possibly making it the most expensive launch ever for a video game. That would surpass the record $265 million in development and marketing costs reported for the rollout of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V last year.
"It's a gigantic gamble, so you can be sure that everyone and their gerbil will have heard of Destiny before September."
15 million copies of Destiny would need to be sold to reach breakeven, and it's highly possible that, that number will be hit within the first two years of the launch, if not less, as gamers look for something new to break the familiarity of franchises like Call of Duty and Halo.