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Bungie is Going to Try and Pull Off a CRM Miracle

Destiny 2 Shadowkeep Promises Cross-Save With Great Risk To Make It Happen

Bungie Is Going To Try And Pull Off A CRM Miracle This September With Destiny Shadowkeep

CRM: “Customer Relationship Management” are software platforms that allow a company to manage information about their customers and use that information to engage with them for the purpose of Marketing, Sales and Service experiences.

Bungie, the software developer behind Destiny and Halo, is going to try and pull off a miracle with their 1 million active users of Destiny The Game; they are going to try to get them synced across the Playstation, XBOX and PC platforms. If they can make this work for the Shadowkeep expansion which launches in September, it will be a case study for gaming CRM.

The challenge they’ve accepted involves taking what has, up until now, been three distinct sets of players across each of these platforms with another complication that the PC base has been using the Blizzard platform for the last couple years and will be switching to Steam in September. So, let’s call it four distinct segments of players.

Bungie has been collecting digital warehouses of data on every single player’s experience with the game since 2014. Their data lake has to be the size of a small Moon and that’s where the wizards come from (sorry, inside Destiny joke—Google it).

Bungie has promised what they are calling “Cross-Save” in September, meaning that players of Destiny will be able to play on any platform and their character progress will sync to the cloud and be accessible from any other platform, keeping the experience relatively consistent but allowing players to pick up on any platform and play with different sets of friends. This is a phenomenal upgrade for players like me who have purchased every version of Destiny on each of these three platforms. Yeah, I went all-in on Destiny in 2014 and haven’t looked back since.

The risk here is pretty large for negatively impacting five years of playing experience. It seems that each of us will need to set the master account we want to begin with and this will wipe out all the other accounts we have. So, if you picked up the Wish Ender exotic bow from the Raid on PC and still haven’t completed the raid on your PS4, you’re out of luck and will lose that gun if you make PS4 your primary account. This is actually good news for me since most of my friends play on Playstation, my time spent in the gloriously superior PC (both in gameplay and framerate), means I’m going to be able to immediately take the value of my Playstation achievements and open them up on PC for all my solo play. I couldn’t be happier.

But Bungie is going to need to manage all those connections. So let’s briefly walk through it.

  • I have an XBOX account with a unique identifier and a medium set of Destiny data.
  • I have a Playstation account with a unique identifier and a large set of Destiny data.
  • I have a Blizzard account with a unique identifier and a small set of Destiny data.
  • I have a Steam account with a unique identifier and no Destiny data.

So here are my assumptions about how this will work:

Step 1: Choose which account I want to be the Master.

For me, this will be Playstation. Easy enough there.

Step 2: Associate all of my children accounts to this Master, so three children accounts (XBOX, Blizzard, and Steam).

Step 3: Bungie will erase or archive and abstract all data related to those three children accounts and create three empty shells that are still affiliated to those unique identifiers for each of those children platforms.

Step 4: Bungie will create a synchronization between those children systems and the Master. We don’t know if this data will be duplicated in all four instances or if all four systems will reference a single set of player data. The more elegant architectural data model would have all four platforms referencing a single set of player data. Not only is it easier to deal with a common reference point of information, but there are also fewer failure points than in pushing and pulling data across all of these player experiences.

Step 5 (Ongoing): Maintain and innovate on the scale and performance of this architecture over time.

Now, if Bungie can pull this off, the player engagement data that will pour out of this architecture will be digital gold. Imagine being able to serve up an offer to a player to purchase an exotic finishing move (customizable combat emotes that will either be awarded or purchased in-game) at the exact moment they clear a raid on whatever platform they are playing on, in almost real-time. The revenue generation potential here is huge for Bungie but on the other side of that coin lies the player experience and any improvement to simplify and democratize the information structure of Destiny means that Bungie will be able to analyze and react much faster to the player base than they currently can right now.

But more importantly, Bungie will never again be locked into being pressured or influenced by any particular gaming platform. Any XBOX Destiny player will tell you that not being able to get an awesome weapon because it was exclusive to Playstation players, just completely sucks. I envision a day where I can pick up any device, like my iPad, connect a Bluetooth gaming controller and start blasting guardians in the crucible with a relatively consistent playing experience for everyone across any platform (“Cross-Play”), which Bungie has coyly hinted at but not yet promised.

While a project of this magnitude, which carries this much risk, may seem like a miracle, pulling it off will the be the result of the right technology investment applied to the right planning and execution. It’s straightforward Project Management with a tight timeline of deliverables and if Bungie can pull this off, they will have effectively created the Gaming Customer Relationship Platform of the future. As a player who deeply loves the experience of playing Destiny, I have my fingers crossed and wish them the very best of luck as they jump down in the abyss of Master Data Management and integration for their customers.

Destiny 2 Shadowkeep release details


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Written by JB Minton

Author of The Skeleton Key to Twin Peaks and Contributor to 25YL. Josh also co-hosts the Red Room Podcast.

8 Comments

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  1. You’re missing a key detail.. you don’t lose anything. Bungie won’t be erasing your accounts on other platforms that aren’t your primary, you’ll just be picking one account that is playable for crosssave. The current characters on each platform will stay available on their own specific platforms after this choice.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Evan. I hadn’t heard what you’re saying here about picking one account that’s playable. Does that mean that we’ll effectively have the ability to play with two sets of guardians on the children accounts? That doesn’t seem right as it makes the experience more complex.

    One of the interesting conversations about this is around the semantics of how data is stored, queried, segmented and then used to build automations and to feed into analytics tools and now more often into AI engines. I tend to think about data and information more from the point of view of the end user, in this case, it’s the Bungie player who logs into these various platforms to play Destiny. What will the experience be when we log in to play after we’ve gone through this process of cross-playing together. I should have stated that nuance in the article.

  3. I’ve been playing Destiny since “The Dark Below” (Year 1, 1st expansion, PSN). When they finally made the jump to PC, so did I. It was bitter sweet, losing all of those years of hard work was painful but gaining the endless performance of a PC was worth it. Please tell me that merging them into a “Master Account” gives us all of our data back, adding my beginning back to my story would be the greatest gift. Erasing/Overwriting the other accounts seems like a repeat of history and wasteful. I don’t know much about this side of it but is there any way to “Sync” without Overwriting/deleting the data from other accounts?

  4. @Fanvsant thank you for this clarification; this is a quest (I’ve now learned thanks to you) that involves the Shattered Dungeon. I’ve managed to avoid taking this one on and just assumed it was part of the Raid since everyone I play with has talked about how difficult that whole experience was. I guess I lump all end-game content into the category of “Raid;” this comes from playing in D1 I assume. Do you have that Wish Ender? Is it worth grinding for?

  5. @Jon this is something I don’t know the answer to, but also something that I’m curios about. When I first heard Bungie was doing cross-save, I thought how cool it would be if they could combine all the platform data together, to assign each guardian a master list of loot they’ve earned, with encounters they’ve completed (including all performance data), as well as pool in all the play statistics (log ins, length of time played, IP address, etc.) into one big Master profile for every guardian who has ever played Destiny. Then, build and automate their experiences going forward with clever use of AI and digital engagement Marketing. It’s a massive potential they have to create something even better than what we’re getting now (which is pretty damn great in my opinion). Jon, what do you think?

  6. @JB I absolutely agree with you. While I’m sure it would be hard to pull off the rewards and benefits would be great. In this day and age I’m sure there is a way and it will put Bungie on top. Whatever they end up doing they should Trademark or Patent whatever they can. Lol I think it would also be kool to have a little recognition banner or gear that says we’re Year1 players, you know? It would also be helpful for those guys trying to maintain 3 platforms with 3 characters each. That’s WAAAYY too much repetition for me, bad enough doing everything just 3 times lol … So this Cross-Save/Play deal, does it mean being a PC player that I will see a PSN player on the battlefield? Or is it strictly just my saved profile data will be available across all platforms?

  7. Jon, I would love more recognition for being a Year 1/Alpha or Beta player. I have the Saladin’s Pride emblem which was what they gave for getting all the Triumphs in Year 1 and 2 and carried over to Destiny 2. I wear that thing all the time and give props to anyone else with it on too.

    The promise of Cross-Play is indeed supposed to deliver PSN and PC players being on the same battlefield, but I can’t imagine at this point how that would work with the current design and performance differences between the two platforms. Very interesting indeed!

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