What does destiny smell like? Maybe it's an aroma reminiscent of the cosmic force guiding fate through the universe. Or perhaps it's the scent of a six-pack of Mountain Dew, one too many slices of order-in pepperoni pizza, and a 10-hour gaming session in front of your flat-screen.
Touting "Destiny," a new fragrance from Xbox, Microsoft published a satirical cologne advertisement Friday. The ad for a fake product is meant to take rival Sony down a notch, ahead of next week's release of a multiplatform game that's also called Destiny. Microsoft isn't allowed to advertise the title for its Xbox One platform because Sony secured exclusive rights to do so from publisher Activision.
"Destiny is actually an epic new first-person shooter, available on Xbox," Microsoft wrote, not letting the farce exist longer than a single click. "Thing is, we didn't have permission to run adverts for the game. So we didn't. Thanks for smelling that something was up."
Destiny, the game, is a large-scale multiplayer title slated to launch September 9. Not only is the game one of the most expensive to date -- with a development and ad budget of more than $500 million -- but Destiny, from Halo creator Bungie, is also the subject of a bitter intellectual-property custody battle between the console makers. Destiny is the most preordered game not born out of an existing franchise in gaming history, meaning Sony and Microsoft are butting heads for who grabs the bigger share of the sales pie.
Neither company has secured Destiny as an exclusive, meaning it would be restricted to either the Xbox or PlayStation platforms. However, Sony hammered out a potentially lucrative deal with Activision for a slew of perks that may make Destiny's PlayStation version a sweeter deal. Among the perks were an early beta program, the ability to bundle the game directly with the PS4 and other content deals for maps and in-game weapons not available to Xbox owners. Microsoft has attempted to counter this by offering Xbox One promotions and, now, with cheeky public swipes meant to undermine Sony's efforts.
For hardware makers and fans alike, exclusivity is a touchy subject in the console-game industry. Microsoft and Sony have each secured deals with nearly every big-budget brand -- Call of Duty, Battlefield, Tomb Raider, Titanfall, to name a few -- that either restrict a series installment to one console or attempt to make a multiplatform game more appealing on one platform compared with its competitor's.
As Destiny nears release, we'll likely get some insight into whether Sony's efforts to paint the PlayStation as the best place to play Destiny will pay off.