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Tomb Raider had biggest launch in franchise history

GDC 2013: Crystal Dynamics reveals gulf between "actuals and expectations"

Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider had the biggest week one sales in the history of the franchise, and the most successful launch of 2013 so far.

In a GDC session attended by Jostiq, Crystal Dynamics head Darrell Gallagher outlined Tomb Raider's success, even though Square Enix revealed the game failed to meet expectations just days earlier.

"It's been the biggest week one sales in franchise history, and we're only a few weeks into that launch right now, and it's been the biggest opening so far in 2013," said Gallagher. "So, we're happy with the outcome. It's certainly in a place where we feel like we're on the road to achieving everything we wanted to.

"Certainly we're proud of what we achieved, and I think for the most part, the whole organisation is happy with what we did... Actuals and expectations, I guess, are two slightly different things. What I'm telling you is the actuals, and they're communicating expectations."

In a document circulated among its investors, Square Enix showed that the 3.4 million units Tomb Raider sold last month was lower than the company required. The figures were released to prepare investors for the company's next financial report, which will include a fiscal year loss of around $138 million, much of it attached to significant restructuring costs.

The company's performance over the last financial year, in which Sleeping Dogs, Hitman and Tomb Raider all failed to meet their internal targets, prompted the resignation of long-time CEO and president Yoichi Wada.

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Latest comments (9)

Eoin Moran Studying Bachelor of Engineering, University of Melbourne8 years ago
If this is the biggest sales in the series, I wonder what on earth the expectations were based upon then?
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development8 years ago
I think some people are confusing expectations with hope.
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Steven Wemyss Senior QA Engineer, Avalanche Studios8 years ago
According to some leaked results the expected figures were:
Tomb Raider: 5 to 6 million 
Hitman: Absolution: 4.5 to 5 million 
Sleeping Dogs: 2 to 2.5 million 

Given that FF13 only sold 6.6Million to date and that was their flagship franchise these seem somewhat optimistic
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Show all comments (9)
Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent8 years ago
The target for this comment right here was 300 words. It made its point with less.
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Kevin Danaher Associate Producer, EA Mobile8 years ago
Jesus! Where were these expectations coming from? Did someone predict that the franchise would have somehow doubled in popularity while being absent for a while? No wonder we see so many CEO's leaving lately, the people at the top seem to be demanding hollywood style success from waning franchises and constantly predict higher sales against trend. At least Kotick was honest recently when he said COD hasn't got more than a couple of years left in it. You can't predict success against an obvious downward sales trend of a franchise.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 8 years ago
Come on guys. You're all in the industry so you know exactly where those targets/expectations came from: Call Of Duty/GTA/Halo/Battlefield sales figures. I mean, if all of those series can move 10+ million than surely Tomb Raider and Hitman can move 5+ million. Right Square Enix?

Lets just be glad they didn't look at Angry Bird sales before evaluating how many copies Tomb Raider and Hitman should be selling. And before I forget, I also want to congratulate Crystal Dynamics on a very well done reboot. Apparently their publisher hasn't done so yet so somebody needed to do it.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game8 years ago
Someone coming up with these expectations needs a bucket of cold water to stick their face in. For Tomb Raider to sell more than what was considered its pop culture heyday and still fall short of a number they dreamed up, do they just keep adding millions to their estimates until it hits the point that would balance?
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Christophe Danguien games developer 8 years ago
Funny how Square suits are so unrealistic ( and it's pointing out the problem when suits who know nothing of the industry take over ). Most of the games company would be celebrating for a week if they had such sales :-)...I know I would :D
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
The Tomb Raider reboot is a great game. Its already sold over 4 million in the short time its been out, from what i last heard. I dont know why square enix considers this a failure. However I think there expectations were set too high. I dont think you can expect the same kind of sales games like call of duty or battle field 4 can rake in. Different type a game that different type of people play. At one point in history side scrollers made lots a money, then street fighter came along and then RPG's had a moment of glory. Now its Shooters. I think the the R&D people the one that study the market and customers arent doing there job. Seriously, Tomb Raider was one of the best games this generation. Square Enix should chillout, congradulate the developers and look at the bright side of things, they are off to a new fresh start for an IP that if handled well can make them there money back.
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