Destiny Sales And The Importance Of Two-Letter Words

You might have seen news reports last week that Bungie's blockbuster new game Destiny made $US500 million in its first day on sale. However, that's not quite what happened.

The headline on Activision's press release read: "Activision Sells in More Than $500 Million of Destiny Worldwide as of Day One". The most important word in that sentence? In. Activision had sold in $US500 million worth of Destiny stock to retailers, but that didn't mean consumers had spent that amount of money.

Many publications failed to recognise the distinction. Business newswire Bloomberg ran with the headline 'Activision's Destiny Has First Day Sales of $500 Million'. No, it didn't. It's almost impossible to accurately track first-day sales for a game that's available through multiple retailers, and which has enormous pre-orders as well. Plenty of publications recognised the distinction between shipments and copies sold, but plenty just believed the hype and failed to read the "in".

The lesson? A short single word can make all the difference. Accuracy matters.

[via Business Insider]

Lifehacker's Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


    Don't care 'till or if, it's released on PC..! :(

    Is it just me or is the use of the word "in" here completely incorrect grammatically?
    "Sells in more than $XXXX"
    that sounds wrong regardless of what "in" means.

    Most of the articles I saw said "ships" rather than "sells"... that made the distinction clear to me

      It's awkward, but it's precise (and it's what the release said). I agree "ships" is a better term.

        "Sell in" is an accounting term when a retailer buys from the distributor/manufacturer. "Sell through" is when a customer buys from the retailer.

          that makes more sense. thanks

            It's also some nice PR manipulation. Ships might be a better term, but is more clearly B2B, while "sells" places the interpretation on the publications, and can score some "oops" good headlines for their B2C image.

    If they wanted to maximise their revenue they should have released on PC day one. Because they didn't, PC users are going to realise the game is not as great as the hype and they'll have poor PC sales or they'll give up on the port altogether.

    Seeing as most game retailers are rip off merchants, I wouldn't be surprised if this figure was somewhat accurate.

    There is actually a big difference. Retailers get commission from sales of a game rather than the full money. At the end of it, basically Activision (if hypothetically 0 sales occurred) owe themselves $500 million dollars.

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