You can't throw a stick in the games press without hitting a story about Destiny. Every patch is covered in great detail, each new loot cave is pored over pixel by pixel. The volume of coverage about the game doesn't seem connected to its lukewarm critical response and review scores.
Part of this is due to the fact that so many of us are still playing the game, and my friends list confirms that. While my list of complaints about Destiny is rather long, the game's ability to retain the interest of so many people I know is impressive.
I read the comments, especially on Facebook, and they're constantly discussing how much coverage the game is getting. I'm going to be honest, part of it is just business. Destiny is covered heavily because people click on and share Destiny stories; the audience for content about Destiny is ravenous.
You're being given so many posts about Destiny because that's what people want, and if I'm trying to decide what game to write about knowing that people love Destiny content makes the choice easy. The gaming audience is proving over and over that they want to read about and discuss Destiny, and when that message is received you better believe that people listen.
It's a two way street. Why is the press so enamored with covering this game, and why is the gaming public so excited about devouring every bit of information released? Destiny lacks a meaningful story, the loot system is still being fixed and even fans of the game talk about everything wrong with it. But they want to pay attention to it.
Any other game that received those review scores would have caused everyone to shrug, and then the next big thing would have taken our attention. But the gaze of the world of gaming still remains fixed on Destiny.
This is wine, not scotch
I have a few theories about this, although at Polygon we've joked that our continual playing of Destiny can be mostly attributed to Stockholm syndrome. Destiny is a long-term investment, after all; We know that the game has a monstrous budget, and that Activision has signed on for a decade of content.
The audience for content about Destiny is ravenous.
Destiny itself had an impressive start in sales, and it's likely going to see another large boost around the holidays. It has already been improved and updated in some basic ways, and that process will continue.
I don't think we're all playing Destiny for the game as it exists today. I think we're investing in a character that we'll want to play in the future. The systems will be improved, new content will be added, and it's likely that there may be a story of some kind added in either future DLC or in the inevitable sequel, and let's pray we don't need an external app to make heads or tails of it.
So many of us remember the first Assassin's Creed game, which had its own share of problems, but became one of the most popular and enduring series of the past decade. If the follow-up to Destiny is as good as Assassin's Creed 2, you can see why everyone is so ready to invest in the ecosystem.
We're dealing with a number of variables here, and some of them are pretty rare in modern video games. We have one of the biggest publishers attached to one of the most popular developers for 10 years, and we know the marketing budget for the game must be incredible. So just in terms of the brute force of the game's ubiquity, it's going to do well.
Once people begin playing it they have enough fun to keep going, even through the many problems, but they're ready for those problems to be fixed. This is why the update stories draw such a huge audience; everyone wants to know how much closer we've moved to the hypothetical "better" version of Destiny they're convinced will exist at some point in the future.
This is what happens when a game's core play is enjoyable enough to keep people interested, flawed enough to keep them hooked on news of fixes and updates, with enough promise that the guaranteed sequel will likely fix most of what we don't like about the game while keeping the things that are working so well.
Destiny is a mess, but it's a big-budget, super-interesting mess, and that means that the news will be coming for quite some time, and it's likely that it will find a very large audience.
The question isn't about when the press will stop covering it so heavily, the bigger question is when will the audience trickle off to an extent that it's no longer worth it? Marketing spend and momentum aren't enough to keep a game going, and finding that breaking point for Destiny is going to be a very interesting journey.