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Tomb Raider finally beats profit expectations

Tomb Raider finally beats profit expectations

Fri 07 Mar 2014 2:53pm GMT / 9:53am EST / 6:53am PST
Business

A year after release, Square Enix reboot on verge of 6 million sold, on pace to be best-selling in franchise history

When the Tomb Raider reboot launched last March, the game received glowing reviews, topped the charts, and still wound up disappointing publisher Square Enix.

One year later, the Tomb Raider narrative has flipped. In a post on the game's official blog, Square Enix head of studios Darrell Gallagher revealed that Tomb Raider will have sold 6 million units by the end of this month. On top of that, Gallagher said the game has actually "exceeded profit expectations and continues to make significant contributions to our overall financial performance."

A number of factors have helped to spark Tomb Raider's sales totals of late. In January, Square Enix released a Definitive Edition package of the game on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. In addition, the PlayStation 3 version of the game was recently added to the PlayStation Plus catalog, allowing subscribers to download the game for free this month. While the publisher's expectations may have been surpassed, Gallagher says its aspirations for Tomb Raider haven't yet been realized.

"With the positive word of mouth and continued commercial momentum it's great to see Tomb Raider (2013) on course to become the best-selling game in the history of the franchise," Gallagher said. "This would be a crowning achievement for the teams around the world, and one that we have our sights firmly set on!"

A sequel to the game is currently in development at Crystal Dynamics.

41 Comments

Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster

461 172 0.4
Am I the only one who actually remembers how unrealistic the press was saying 6m sales was? Well Done. Squenix. TR thoroughly deserves it, just promise you won't copy and paste the next iteration.

Posted:7 months ago

#1

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,270 2,439 1.1
So the poster child of high sales / missed profits finally achieved the promised land.

Andrew, I recall some of that. But I more lucidly recall the monumental befuddlement expressed by the media (and gamers) at Tomb Raider somehow being below profit expectations when it actually sold quite well. Even at just 5 million sold and with SE getting $20 per sale (I know, that figure is just for example and fluctuates per deal), that's $100 million. Which should be a sizable profit for every game not called Grand Theft Auto.

It was heralded as the signal of the begging of the end for AAA gaming. But here it is. 1 year later and profitable to SE's expectations.

Posted:7 months ago

#2

Private VIdeo Games

103 14 0.1
Grats to the CD dudes, they are a great bunch and that was an awesome game.

Posted:7 months ago

#3

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

453 724 1.6
This just goes to show the effects of the modern long-tail of gaming. Thanks to DLC, discounts, the fact that the game is free on PS+ now (meaning more DLC sales), it's no longer a case of breaking even within a month.

I still think that the initial expectations were ridiculous, but at least they hit them, even if the industry had to change for them to do it.

Posted:7 months ago

#4

Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike

117 127 1.1
This was such a great game. Only weak place was the story, and it wouldn't take too much to improve on that. It was always a weird thing for me to understand that publishers would trumpet their first few days of sales as if those were the only ones that mattered. It seems like it makes logical sense that your first week or so of sales is the result of marketing hype, and then the sales from that point forward are the sales that result from positive reviews and word of mouth. If your game is great, as was TR - you could only expect for your bottom line to continue to fatten... right??? To write your game off as a failure so publicly so quickly seems like a really poor move.

For the developers and artists involved in this project, it was a career defining game, and I look forward to the next one in the series. Great job Crystal Dynamics.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Eric Leisy on 8th March 2014 9:51am

Posted:7 months ago

#5

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,584 1,438 0.9
It was always a weird thing for me to understand that publishers would trumpet their first few days of sales as if those were the only ones that mattered.
It is weird... Maybe it's something that the games industry has "borrowed" from the movie industry? Though even in movies, there's less focus on opening weekends now than there was 5/10/15 years ago.

Posted:7 months ago

#6

Nick Parker Consultant

288 158 0.5
Unfortunately, publishers more familiar (and comfortable) with the packaged goods model have experienced a shortening of the period to sell at the optimum profit level over the past few years. For most retail titles, the first month sets the likely success/failure of lifetime sales so it's no wonder publishers get hung up on this phase. Online initiatives thereafter, if executed well, which is often not the case, can provide a welcome upside.

Really well done CD and Square Enix, great to see this one of the two (the other being GTA) most celebrated British franchises of the last 20 years, achieve success again.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nick Parker on 8th March 2014 1:41pm

Posted:7 months ago

#7

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,135 1,171 1.0
They might not have sold six million at full retail price, but they found an audience nonetheless. I hope they stick to this franchise like they stuck to the product. As far as this game goes as an origin story, it is hard to find another reboot which takes its character from such a beginning to purest of fanboy service in a iconic moment finale.

Posted:7 months ago

#8

Sally Blake Production Co-ordinator, Ubisoft

1 0 0.0
Pretty great! I've been meaning to pick this up for ages; one on my list of many at the moment.

Posted:7 months ago

#9

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

888 1,324 1.5
Jesus, that's almost a fifth of the players of coin dozer

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 9th March 2014 12:07am

Posted:7 months ago

#10

Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

449 423 0.9
Jesus, that's almost a fifth of the players of coin dozer
Your point?

and

On the PSX:
Tomb Raider 1: 7 million
Tomb Raider 2: 8 million
Tomb Raider 3: 6 million


Given the Tomb Raider brand was only ever relevant to 7 million (+/- 1 million) customers, it would be highly unrealistic to expect more.

Also: http://images.bit-tech.net/news_images/2009/04/eidos-shows-lifetime-sales-for-tomb-raider/pla.jpg

Yes, more people have phones than consoles. Should every Jazz musician stop playing Jazz because of X-Factor views? Niche, percentages, yes, I get it. The simplest mental model to create is just looking at ONE big lump and making the most generalised statements about it, and hence it's quite easy to forget that those numbers generated lots of millions in revenue. Whether CCS brought in ten times of that doesn't change the fact that that is a substantial figure!

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 9th March 2014 9:24am

Posted:7 months ago

#11

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
Jesus, that's almost a fifth of the players of coin dozer
Actually, the true extent of Tomb Raider's failure comes when you realize it's got nowhere near a tenth of the users of Tiny Flashlight + LED.

Posted:7 months ago

#12

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

888 1,324 1.5
My point is fairly minor, but these are not actually impressive numbers. They just seem that way because this industry site is heavily focussed on a niche segment and most people aren't aware of what truly impressive penetration looks like (phnar). Once in a while I just like to throw a bone out to where games actually get consumed.

Temple Run 2 has 170 million installs just on Android, for example. I find it very odd that games with this many downloads hardly ever get a mention here.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 9th March 2014 3:37pm

Posted:7 months ago

#13

Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

449 423 0.9
Popular Comment
My point is fairly minor, but these are not actually impressive numbers. They just seem that way because this industry site is heavily focussed on a niche segment and most people aren't aware of what truly impressive penetration looks like (phnar).
I get your point, I understand it fully, I can see it just as you see it front ways, side ways and upside down, as can everyone else. You're not enlightening anyone. You're selling the popular brands of sodapop to wine enthusiasts. Yes it's called "gameindustry.biz" because when it came out, video games meant consoles and arcades. Likewise it wouldn't be surprising to have "drink clubs" having to face similar problems when Coca Cola came out and people started mocking the small wine niche, suggesting it wasn't relevant.

Though analogies aren't the best tool for discussion I suppose as it's far too easy to dismiss.

I don't think anyone was suggesting they were "impressive", just good.

But we get it, you're 100% pro f2p and anti-console (or however you'd like to call it). We get that. But how have you ADDED to this topic, exactly? Do you wish to CONVERT people to YOUR point of view? because if so you're evangelising to the wrong crowd.

Posted:7 months ago

#14

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,270 2,439 1.1
Paul, isn't Temple Run 2 free to install?

You can't, or at least rather shouldn't, compare the install base of a full priced game to a free game.

Posted:7 months ago

#15

Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike

117 127 1.1
Comparing Temple Run 2 and Tomb Raider seems a bit insulting. I think games like Temple Run 2 are rarely mentioned on this site because (I would like to think) most of us on here recognize Temple Run for what it really is: A casual game that is entirely built around fleecing money from it's customer in the same way that crack cocaine is designed to continually fleece money from its customer base.

This is, admittedly, an issue I have with most F2P games. They are meant to be addictive and shallow. And as Jimm mentioned, it can be downloaded on a whim, as it's free - kind of.

Posted:7 months ago

#16

Justin Biddle Software Developer

159 484 3.0
I'm willing to bet that if tomb raider was offered as a free download across xbox 360,ps4, ps3 and PC it would achieve a download rate not too dissimilar to temple run. And what does that show? Absolutely nothing. No more than comparing temple run to tomb raider's current release model. They're entirely different and very much profitable forms of making and selling a game

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 9th March 2014 9:35pm

Posted:7 months ago

#17

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

888 1,324 1.5
@Eric.Not here as well, this is getting epidemic. Do you not feel embarassed saying stuff like that? How much does your company charge for some plastic trainers again? You know, the ones you use child labour to get made for about a dollar a pair? The ones you spend millions advertising to make "cool" so all the kids nag their parents to buy them.

You see, it's easy isn't it. Or is it only my business you're happy slagging off.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 9th March 2014 10:28pm

Posted:7 months ago

#18

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
...but these are not actually impressive numbers.
By the same token, the games you're talking about don't have impressive numbers compared to Tomb Raider when you look at, say, ARPU.

I would think that someone who claims to be an MD would have enough basic business knowledge to know that if you're looking only at the number of users, rather than revenue, you've gone very wrong.

Posted:7 months ago

#19

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

888 1,324 1.5
But we get it, you're 100% pro f2p and anti-console (or however you'd like to call it).
You'll see from other posts than I'm not pro F2P. I sell more prepaid games than F2P, one of them on console. And I've made many console games in the past.

What I actually am is open-minded and open to discussion about furthering the business of game developement. You're right that I'm in the wrong place here for that, as this has become some sort of leftie commune fixated on a single niche market segment that's collapsing further with every redundancy notice. Worse, anyone else that has an opinion against the almighty AAA is auto-wrong, which makes the whole place pointless.

In fact, unless it's a AAA console game, it doesn't even qualify as a game at all in some of the "informed opinion" I've been seeing over the past few months. Just a load of bile spitting reminiscent more of YouTube than a serious biz oriented site.

You won't see much more of me here from now on, and I do know I won't be missed.

Posted:7 months ago

#20

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

888 1,324 1.5
I would think that someone who claims to be an MD would have enough basic business knowledge to know that if you're looking only at the number of users, rather than revenue, you've gone very wrong.
I guess you can't tell when someone is shit stirring. You see I'm always wrong, and when you get to that point, you stop caring.

I'll take my always wrong, noob opinions back to the company I've been running profitably without any outside funding at all, for over ten years, without a console game in sight, and stick it up my arse then. This place isn't for the likes of me, it's for "real" business.

Posted:7 months ago

#21

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
...this has become some sort of leftie commune fixated on a single niche market segment that's collapsing further with every redundancy notice.
If you look purely at number of consumers, yes, core gaming is a niche market compared to casual gaming. However, you have all along been utterly ignoring revenue, which is why people can't take you seriously. By the measure of revenue, core gaming certainly isn't a niche; it's a substantial part of the entire gaming market. Nor does it appear to be collapsing.

When you start going on as if revenue doesn't matter, game quality and depth doesn't matter, that nothing but one single statistic--the number of users--matters, you're not being "open-minded." You're being very close-minded indeed.

Posted:7 months ago

#22

Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

449 423 0.9
@Paul: I'm sure nobody has a problem with you, just the spamming of topics. I was expecting you to respond with smartphone gaming numbers a lot sooner, but the fact that it was expected means that that response was predictable. And given it is an unwanted response by the majority of users I'd imagine it would be an unpleasant anticipation too.

But you have ran a successful games company without any outside funding, so if anyone ought to be here it's you. You have a great deal of experience being successful in your own way, which makes you a highly valued member here. I take heed of all of your posts because it educates me in a way that no business book can.

That being said, a conducive discussion requires a tad bit of restraint in terms of preaching one's PERSPECTIVE. Worse yet is to ignore the fact that it is an oversimplified perspective that does not accurately depict the market forces. Real debate explores peacefully and does not take sides.

Yes there are many centre left views, but that's probably because there are a lot of creatives here, who, not being left brain dominant are more inclined to more liberal views. But understand that one's political position is just a reflection of their perspective. Truth be told, there are no silver bullets, particularly in politics and economic theory.

Posted:7 months ago

#23

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

888 1,324 1.5
(Yes, I'm still here - I'll finish this thread off.)

@Curt.
For fucks sake. I've spent the last several months being told by luminaries on here that revenue is evil. Games are art and charging for them is a bad thing. Unless you grab a really large amount of money up front for something sight unseen. That is perfectly fine, because people who can't think anything through have gotten used to that being the only model. It sounds so much fairer than pay as you go now I put it like that. Oh wait, people like pay as you go too. For just talking to people that makes a lot of sense, but paying for a game this way? Evil. Burn the witch.

So yes, I do think the number of players you get to look at your game is the true indicator of its worth. If this game wasn't about making money they'd give it away for a buck and then we'd know. But just in case, I'll put a big wager on the fact that Temple Run has made at least one order of magnitude more net profit than Tomb Raider. In fact, I'll go as far as to predict that the people making Temple Run will all still have a job in a year to boot. Because it's a better business model in every single respect.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 9th March 2014 11:52pm

Posted:7 months ago

#24

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

888 1,324 1.5
I'm having my last say on F2P, albeit in completely the wrong place.

F2P is an emerging model. It's done well in some games, done badly in others, and splits opinion every time. Whatever I say on this matter will only get slated, so instead I'm going to highlight what most of the neighsayers think is the "one true path". Prepaid AAA.

There are three groups you can look at for this. The players, the developers, the funders (publishers).

1) The players
Have to pay a lot of money up front, sight unseen. You may read a review, but it might be biased, and you might not agree with the reviewer to taste. Because of the dev costs, you don't even get much choice week in week out.
One star, couldn't be worse.

2) The developers
We've all seen the stories, many here will feature in them. Redundancy, crunch. It's become common these days that instead of a completion bonus, you get a P45. Before being fired, you will have almost no creative freedom at all and need to work in a team with 1-500 people, spending more time in meetings than developing games.
Two stars, it's good to have a AAA on your CV for your next interview

3) The publishers.
They go out of business all the time. Most execs seem to switch jobs as projects come to a close so there's no cohesion. Margins are so tight than anything less than an epic seller is a financial fail that puts you under. Risk aversion has now escalated to being the default. Nothing new to work on. Next-gen is just about to make it even worse.
One star. It's easier betting the firm on bio stock

So if someone thinks this AAA console model is a shining beacon of business, and F2P casual games from small teams somehow aren't worthy, then you'e talking out your arse. The current mainstream model of game development could not be more broken.

So don't ask me what I'm adding. Tell me what you're adding by keeping this crap going, it benefits nobody.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 9th March 2014 11:33pm

Posted:7 months ago

#25

Justin Biddle Software Developer

159 484 3.0
Have you perhaps considered that it's just possible that there are two true paths running parallel to each other not just one? If console gaming is dead how come next gen consoles (wiiu excluded) are doing very well sales wise. I assume this will just be dismissed as early adopters. Although as the sales continue well after launch window this becomes a weaker argument with each passing month. And before I get dismissed as a console triple AAA zealot remember that this post began by making clear I think both are viable and important. To be honest, apart from the odd exception I get the impression that most of the people you label as biased towards console are actually in favour of both triple AAA and f2p as valid coexisting models.

Posted:7 months ago

#26

Nick Wofford Hobbyist

180 190 1.1
1.) I'll take Tomb Raider over Dungeon Keeper any day. Heck, I'll take any AAA game over Dungeon Keeper (and its ilk) any day. No company on this planet is going to put my money on a conveyor belt into their wallet. And once I hit my limit and stop them, I no longer get to progress in the game. Really forward thinking (for the company, not the consumer).

2.) For a developer, you can sell you work as art with some pride, or turn into a literal beggar with a tin cup. That's not something many developers are willing to do. Indies can release products for less than $20 and still have pride.

3.) For a publisher, better expectations is all that's needed. The AAA model worked for decades, and still produces millions in profit. Some publishers have done poorly, but that's the nature of any business. Talk to Zynga if you think F2P is a haven for profit.

As for what's "worthy," that's up to the consumers. Do you feel pride from the gaming community when working on F2P? I wouldn't. It's a (weak) attempt to win the lottery on the App Store that fails for a higher percentage than anything in the AAA space.

Posted:7 months ago

#27

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,270 2,439 1.1
Popular Comment
Worse, anyone else that has an opinion against the almighty AAA is auto-wrong, which makes the whole place pointless.
Greetings, Paul.

Our apologies if this has become your viewpoint of many of us with responses to you.

We don't hold an "auto-wrong" response to anything critical of AAA console gaming. We (or at least I) simply felt your comparative metric was flawed in premise. It is not wrong of you to think that Temple Run 2 has a large install base. On a 1:1 ratio to Tomb Raider, it's huge.

But it's also incomparable due to the initial investment requirements of each product. There does not exist another market in any industry where one would compare the consumer ownership rates of a product with $0.00 require upfront financial investment and a product with a $60 initial investment. Again, your comparison is factually correct and without refute. But the purpose of your comparison and its validity are under scrutiny.

Posted:7 months ago

#28

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
I've spent the last several months being told by luminaries on here that revenue is evil.
Indeed, there doseem to be a certain number of people here who dislike F2P so much that they claim they will never play an F2P game. How many of these really think that the world would be better off entirely without F2P I'm not sure, but there are probably one or two.

Nonetheless, such extremism doesn't make sense, since there are clearly good F2P games out there. You come across as being on the other extreme, which is just as bad. Do you seriously think the world would be a better place without Tomb Raider, or with it somehow made to fit an F2P model?
So yes, I do think the number of players you get to look at your game is the true indicator of its worth.
Using the number of players that have downloaded a game as the sole measure of its value is truly an extreme of absurdity. If people come after you, it's not because they don't like F2P, it's because you're being ridiculous.

Posted:7 months ago

#29

Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

449 423 0.9
For fucks sake. I've spent the last several months being told by luminaries on here that revenue is evil. Games are art and charging for them is a bad thing.
If that's all you comprehended from people here you've missed what they're actually saying.

Most of those comments about "games are art" are in relation to revenue determining how good it is. Artistic people have an astute sense of art, and likewise highly intelligent people tend to gravitate to literary works displaying a higher level of genius. Those books don't sell as well as say, 50 Shades of Gray.

In terms of revenue, clearly they're not advocates of the free software movement or suggesting games be freemium, so it would be illogical to conclude that they "think" all revenue is evil when they are clearly supporting making of profit through direct sales. What I think they might agree on is that ONLY being concerned with revenue at the expense of everything else leads to various forms of 'evil', for which there is ample evidence.

But if you wish to consider yourself a victim of 'luminaries' then you are free to see the world in that way. You are clearly someone who does not allow his view to be challenged, is highly opinionated and somewhat defensive when it comes to your viewpoint. That's not a bad thing per se, but going against the grain so rigidly is going to cause inevitable friction.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 10th March 2014 7:07am

Posted:7 months ago

#30

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

888 1,324 1.5
Have you perhaps considered that it's just possible that there are two true paths running parallel to each other not just one?
I've not "considered" it, I know it to be true. But there is only one path signposted on this site. And god help you if you shine a light on the other one(s).
If console gaming is dead how come next gen consoles (wiiu excluded) are doing very well sales wise
I've never said dead, but I do know they're dying. I thought the number of console sales proves exactly what a niche they've become tbh. 6 million playstations is one per how many households? They're practically invisible next to other machines bought primarily for gaming and entertainment - such as tablets.
We (or at least I) simply felt your comparative metric was flawed in premise
It was flawed indeed to directly compare. What I was more interested in was how come nobody thinks 170 million installs isn't impressive and gets reported. Because it is you know. If you think these numbers are just because it's free, go try it for yourself and see. I would not expect tomb raider to do 170M installs even if free and on mobile was more my thinking. It's that niche word again.
But if you wish to consider yourself a victim of 'luminaries' then you are free to see the world in that way. You are clearly someone who does not allow his view to be challenged
Now come on, you'll have seen me responding civilly most of the time. But when people who should know better start making analogies about drug pushing and robbing children, I'm gonna stick it right back at them.

But lets look at my central belief which has come up again. Yes, I really do consider mobile gaming (paid, f2p or other) to be more important than console gaming. But for proper reasons, not the common kneejerk view usually being offered as the "defense", which is "console is more important because that used to be the case".

I am not biased because "I'm in mobile". I used to be in console and PC. I moved to mobile when I saw where the future was going. And just ftr, whilst it's not without challenges and I'm still not well off financially, I've never had more fun. Working at some megacorp on the next sequel of brand X does not hold much appeal to most guys old enough to know anything else. Is that meant to be the lure? Pass.

Mobile has more players. Mobile has more developers. Mobile has more games. In fact the only biz angle where mobile gaming is inferior to console is in terms of gross profit. Console is still way ahead on the front, even though the gap is narrowing all the time. However, when willy waggling about finances, it's net profit that's the money shot. In terms of net profit, I would expect that gap to be a lot narrower and it wouldn't shock me if mobile was slightly ahead. It certainly will be in the next couple of years as console gaming is getting played out (see above) whereas mobile is still in it's growth phase.

Does all of that mean anything to someone not interested mobile? Nope. Should it mean anything to a website dedicated to the business of game development? Hell yes.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 10th March 2014 8:20am

Posted:7 months ago

#31

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,584 1,438 0.9
What I was more interested in was how come nobody thinks 170 million installs isn't impressive and gets reported
Don't we all know the answer to this? How many games do you install but never play? Or play once, then delete? Or hit a paywall, then delete? This happens all the time on PC or console (well, apart from the paywall :) ). But in those cases, the money has already been taken - all of it. That copy of Tomb Raider could be lying about gathering dust, but it doesn't matter, because the dev/pub has the money.
Mobile has more players
But those eyeballs wander quickly - on the bus, on lunch-break, checking other apps...
Mobile has more developers. Mobile has more games.
More people trying to grab a slice of the pie, in marketplaces which have varying amounts of quality app/games.

Personally, I find the "F2P is better" argument disingenuous. The core problem with AAA dev is not the number of consumers, nor the price point (though that is related). The real problem is budget. And it appears to be a problem only in AAA - the AA/high-concept indie scene seems to be able to thrive and survive on the pay-upfront model. And until the industry realises that spending 5 years developing a game is not only stupid, but outright harmful to all involved, or that creating a new in-house engine very 4 years is a costly vicious circle, I don't think AAA will change particularly.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 10th March 2014 9:03am

Posted:7 months ago

#32

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,182 972 0.8
Popular Comment
Just because Tomb Raider has finally made a profit, it doesn't mean we can't be critical or worried about escalating AAA development costs. Square-Enix are an example of a company that has struggled to sustain the weight of expectation and investment into their products over the course of a generation.

The costs of products like these and more so Final Fantasy have led to a complete change in strategy for the coming generation and even then, there's no gurantee profits will be at the level their investors desire.

I'm still a bit worried about rising game development costs and the increased risk involved, knowing that games can sell 4-5 Million copies and still not be profitable. Not every studio out there can afford the luxury of a year or two to wait (after criticising their own performance) and see if sales pick up and even then, it may not do wonders for the overall balance sheets.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 10th March 2014 12:05pm

Posted:7 months ago

#33

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
It's fair to say that there will be a point where dedicated consoles will vanish, but not because of a lack of interest in dedicated console games, but rather because the hardware is becoming less and less necessary to play them. A lot more games are being bought for PC these days, which can play games as well as the consoles, and by the time of the next console cycle, cell phones will probably have the computing power to do the same. So yeah, in ten years people might be playing the next great game on their phones, but it won't be an Angry Birds or Temple Run (although those will certainly be around in some form), it'll be a GTA or Zelda or something, being run on phone hardware, docked into a media cradle that throws it up on the TV and links it to a comfortable controller, or if we're getting even more sci-fi just protecting it only a pair of VR glasses.

The point is, the AAA console game will outlast the plastic console.

The $0-$10 time wasters on the phones certainly have their place, but they aren't in conflict with the console games. People who play console games aren't abandoning their AAA consoles to play Where's my Water, they play that while they are forcibly away from their consoles.

And yes, that is a whole segment of the industry, and it would be deserving of some notice, but for two things, first, the marketing issues. Major publishers have marketing departments. They hold junkets, they show up at conventions, they provide plenty of opportunity for journalists to check out their products, so the journalists have something to write about. Phone games tend to just come out, and there's no way to review them all, so they only become known about when they've managed to catch on, and then what's the story to tell? "My grandma posted on Facebook that she is loving Candy Crush?"

The second is that from the artistic angle, there's not usually a lot there either. You can do an article analyzing, say, Gone home, from an artistic angle, discussing the choices made and the reasons behind them. What kind of article do you write about Temple Run? "Well, you run, and then sometimes you run in a different direction for a bit, until you can't run anymore." There's usually not a whole lot to these games, as engaging as they might be to actually play, so you might get a short article out of them, but you really can't fill much more than that.

I think it's unreasonable to expect phone games to get media coverage comparable to AAA titles under those circumstances, that they get what coverage they do is actually pretty impressive.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Ogul on 10th March 2014 10:07am

Posted:7 months ago

#34

Justin Biddle Software Developer

159 484 3.0
I've never said dead, but I do know they're dying. I thought the number of console sales proves exactly what a niche they've become tbh. 6 million playstations is one per how many households? They're practically invisible next to other machines bought primarily for gaming and entertainment - such as tablets.
Now I could be wrong so feel free to correct me but I believe that figure is equivalent if not greater to the previous generations sales at that similar point in time which is in no way considered to be a failure. So if new gen is doing the same or better than last gen at a similar point it's not relevant to say that it's dying just because mobile is pushing far more copies and hardware. They're different beasts and the very fact consoles says don't appear to be dented despite the huge growth in mobile and f2p pretty much proves that. Granted those monthly sales numbers may drop off quicker than last gen at which point it would be fair to say that console is dying. But at present they aren't and with no evidence yet that they're going to there is pretty much zero evidence to support the predicted death of consoles. Yet. I'm more than willing to re-evaluate when and if things change

Edit: Here's a link that shows 360 sales for the first four years. I struggled to find something that breaks this down so apologies that this is the only link I could find. Assuming I'm reading it right it looks like it took over a year for the 360 to reach 6 million total. I chose 360 because I thought it would be an unfair comparison to compare with ps3 as it struggled at the start which I felt would bias the figures in favour of my argument and I wanted to avoid that

http://vgsales.wikia.com/wiki/Xbox_360

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 10th March 2014 12:05pm

Posted:7 months ago

#35

Ivan McCloskey Co Founder, Team Aozora

6 19 3.2
Very happy to see this, a nice bit of long-tail action. Kudos for not giving up on this one.

Posted:7 months ago

#36

Frank Trottier Analyst programmer

23 23 1.0
We can get lost in perspective. What if you are a millionaire but 90 % of your relations are richer than you. Does that make you an asshole ?

Posted:7 months ago

#37
@Tim Ogul

They've been saying that for years and if it does come to pass then it will all be built into the TVs, you won't even need the phone :-)

Posted:7 months ago

#38

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Also quite possible, although the computing hardware would still likely cost a couple hundred dollars, and adding that cost to a TV would be a bit prohibitive, while having it in a phone, which would want that performance for other tasks, and which you could conveniently dock, would be a better "lifestyle value" proposition. My point is, sure, at some point there might be a point at which nobody decides "I will pay $300+ for a piece of hardware primarily to play games on," but the cause of that won't be because they won't want the next generation of the types of games current consoles provide, but rather because the very best games out there will be playable on some other form of hardware.

We aren't looking into a future where the only games out there are repetitive time wasters, but we probably are only one or two generations from the end of the dedicated game console.

Posted:7 months ago

#39

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
What I was more interested in was how come nobody thinks 170 million installs isn't impressive and gets reported.
Because, with four billion smartphone users out there, 170 million is barely over 4% of the market. So this is clearly a niche product.

Further, 170 million was 8% of smartphone owners just two years ago in 2012. The penetration of this product has been cut by half in just two years, indicating that it's also a dying product.

I suppose the truly sad thing here is that you're unlike to succed as well as even this (or should I say, fail as well?) with any of your games. Given that you believe massive installs are the only thing on which you can judge the value of a game, you must believe your own games have little value. I'm sorry that you're so unhappy with your own work, and that there's so little you can do to fix it. (There's a substantial portion of luck involved in making a truly massive hit.)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 11th March 2014 5:44am

Posted:7 months ago

#40

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