Why Activision and Bungie Aren’t Calling ‘Destiny’ an MMO

Activision and Bungie haven’t referred to Destiny as an MMO despite its online characteristics, which heavily resemble games in the MMO genre. Company pages and press releases use words like “persistent online world” with “cooperative, competitive, and public gameplay” to skirt around the subject. Marketing insists on labeling it a first-person shooter (FPS) before even touching on the fact that it’s a massively multiplayer online game. So, why would Activision want to avoid the calling it as such?

MMO carries a stereotype — one that Activision would rather avoid. When consumers hear a game falls under the MMO genre, visions of World of Warcraft raids and YouTube videos of Leroy Jenkins suddenly flood in, and it’s not an attractive image. It’s a genre that would instantaneously alienate consumers with word association. First-person shooter — now that’s sexy. Call of Duty and Halo blockbusters are titles that a lot of people buy, and that’s what Activision’s marketing team is aiming for.

But even with words like FPS and names like Bungie (creators of Halo) backing Destiny, it has still received lukewarm reception. At E3, Sony announced PlayStation 4 owners would receive exclusive access to Destiny’s Alpha, and its been the best decision Activision has made. Across the Internet, game critics and consumers have opinions about Destiny – no longer muddled expressions when discussing it. Conversation — good or bad — is what the game has needed, and is finally getting.

Call it whatever you like, I’m excited for Destiny after spending the weekend with the Alpha. Here are my impressions.

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