The Destiny Beta – Gaming’s Greatest Piece of Marketing‏

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The Destiny Beta might just be the greatest piece of marketing in gaming history. No, I’m serious. Think about it. Who was talking about Destiny a few months ago? Nobody. Despite being labelled as the most expensive video game in history, there seemed to be an ever growing sense of malaise surrounding the game, a sense of malaise Activision and Bungie were surely aware of.

Folk had played it, and while nobody seemed to have anything particularly bad to say about it, few appeared 100% sure of what exactly it was meant to be. An FPS MMO? Some kind of odd hybrid? Was there a single player campaign? How was the competitive multiplayer integrated? Whatever it was, the message wasn’t getting across, and with other big, triple-A releases just around the corner, Destiny was starting to get lost amidst the crowd.

Heck, even I, a huge fan of Bungie and Halo had completely lost interest. Like so many others, I didn’t really know what it was or whether it would be for me. Honestly, I’d kind of forgotten about it, and shit, if somebody like me, an FPS fan who counts Halo amongst my favourite games of all time couldn’t give a monkeys, then yes, something certainly had to be done.

And something was done – the Destiny beta. Not only did its announcement re-ignite interest in the project, but the brave decision to deliver such a large amount of content meant that gamers got a chance to experience exactly what Bungie is trying to achieve here.

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The beta doesn’t deliver a snippet of what the game is; it essentially delivers the first few hours of the full retail product. Subsequently, like the full release, the beta has the ability to ease gamers into the experience that Bungie have created, to give us all a clear idea of what the full game will deliver and how it all fits together. It’s certainly a lot of content for a beta, but given their aim to outline what Destiny really is, that’s exactly what they had to do, and my word, hasn’t it worked a treat.

Not only is the gaming press now all over Destiny, but the mainstream press have decided to take a an interest too. Not since GTA V have I seen so many column inches committed to a triple-A video game. Whether it is the most expensive game of all time or not is up to debate, but the fact is, that story, alongside the beta has created something of a journalistic super storm that has ensured Destiny’s place at the front of the queue ahead of this year’s big gaming season.

It’s not just the press either – gamers too, myself included, are suddenly all aboard the Destiny train. It was a ballsy move to have a beta with that much content, but not only does it give the whole development an air of confidence, but it also points towards the size of full retail release being something incredibly vast. Of course, none of this would have worked if the content wasn’t up to scratch, but as will be apparent to anyone who has had the chance to play the beta, Destiny is clearly a top quality product, one that could rewrite the way in which first person shooters are structured.

Destiny manages to take the fundamentals of the industry’s most popular genre and perfectly match them to all of gaming’s most addictive qualities. On paper, Destiny might sound like a po-faced Borderlands, but play it for yourself, and you’ll soon see that it’s aiming to be so much more. A squad based shooter, a story driven experience, an MMO and a competitive FPS; Destiny appears to be all of these things, and perhaps even more.

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A few months ago, I was utterly jaded at the prospect of Destiny, but thanks to the pitch perfect beta, this has moved right to the top of my most wanted list. If you had asked me before the beta if I wanted an MMO in my gaming life, I would have said no, but Bungie and Activision have proved otherwise. Like so many great things in life, Destiny looks to be the game that you didn’t know you wanted until it is in your hands. There is still a chance for the whole thing to go tits up of course, but as it stands, Destiny appears to be one of those brilliantly rare cases of an experience that is more than the sum of its already impressive individual parts.

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