Tomb Raider is Square Enix’s most profitable failure

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Tomb Raider 2013

Tomb Raider is a popular franchise. It even spawned awful movie spin offs that I love because of Angelina Jolie and Gerard Butler. The latest game caused a bunch of controversy with the way it rebooted the franchise, but apparently it’s exactly what we needed – it has sold tons of units and become the most successful game in the franchise.

Gamespot got news that the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix has actually sold more than 8.5 million copies worldwide. That’s particularly impressive considering it was sitting at 7 million in February; the title is still selling at a reasonably quick pace. Remember when Square Enix thought it was a disappointment? I suppose those days are gone.

Crystal Dynamics studio head, Darrel Gallagher is (of course) thrilled by the game’s sales:

Tomb Raider ignited and expanded the fan base, pushing the series to a new level. The game’s incredible sales success reflects the passionate response of players.

See, Lara doesn’t need to wear the iconic shorts and guns to be successful. The younger, more vulnerable (but equally tough) Lara offers something different to players and obviously is shipping tons of units.

The next Tomb Raider game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, is launching on Xbox as an exclusive for an indeterminate time. Fans were outraged that the game is only coming to that platform, although based on the newfound connections between PC and Xbox One, perhaps we will also see it coming to PC relatively soon. Fans will, of course, want to get it on their platform of choice, but I’m curious how many units the exclusive helps to ship.

Last Updated: April 7, 2015

  • Dutch Matrix
  • Greylingad

    The reboot was very good, those movies, even starring Angelina Jolie, were absolutely horrific. I believe that Square Enix was just hopelessly too hasty when it came to this game, expecting too much too quickly… But then again isn’t that what every gaming publisher has been doing in the last few years? Over hype this Overhype that and then… boof disappointment because we pumped waaay too much money into the marketing campaign instead of just being patient, creating something good and going with it, striking that fine balance…

    • Loftus

      Greylingad do you think they have shot them self in the foot by doing a timed exclusive ?

      • Greylingad

        Yep! I believe so, the reasoning behind an exclusive is that a singular platform gets exposure to the game, which in effect hampers the total sales figure for the studio (had it been on multiple platforms), but boosts sales of the actual platform. But, we are edging past a global recession, yes we still are, so having two gaming consoles to be able to play games, which is a luxury, is still not a practical solution… Also, with the studio sales being hampered, the projected growth of said studio could be harmfully impacted by a bad review.

        • Pieter Kruger

          It’s a timed exclusive on Xbox One meaning it will also release on PC (Microsoft is publishing it and helped with the development costs). Xbox One + PC sales > PS4 sales.

          • Greylingad

            Ok, I’ll break it down in the following way:

            (XBO)(t) + (1-t)(PC) + 0(PS4) = profit

            Where t = a factor of time measured between the release on XBO and PC,

            Now on a non timed release:

            1.XBO + 1.PC + 1.PS4 = Total profit

            Where the factor t is completely removed and the profit from all three platforms are added up, also between formula one and two there is quite a big difference as to how much money actually makes it back to the devs.

          • Pieter Kruger

            But then you’re completely ignoring the monies paid to subsidies development and ensure exclusivity in the first place?

          • Greylingad

            You know, you’re right, but would those fees amount to a few million sales of a specific product? Is it worth doing an exclusive if your licensing and exclusivities fees amount to more than the profit you made by publishing on every other platform? Also, as mentioned above, the games exclusivity won’t aid in selling it on PC for instance, because by the time the PC gamers have their hands on it, it’ll be an old game, hence the famous little saying wait for it to land in the bargain bin…

          • Jonah Cash

            Hahahaha!! You just confirmed my point that owning a PC = Owning an Xbone, thus if you have a PS4 and a PC you are winning by a country mile!! If it is going to work like you say it will then I will never need to buy a Xbone…

          • Pieter Kruger

            Sigh, we’ve been through this a million times…… NOT EVERYONE’S MOM CAN AFFORD TO GET THEM A PC AND A CONSOLE, you’re just very very lucky! ????????????. But seriously yeah I see your point of course but what I said above and also many people prefer console…..Remember that console is the budget way to get into gaming! ????

          • Greylingad

            Yes! Yes! But that is exactly what I’m saying, how many people do you know that have both an Xbone and a PS4, let alone a PC for that matter, by making a game exclusive, you literally cut off a hand that feeds you, unless if you’re doing market research as to how many gamers would buy an exclusive, there is absolutely no point in it…

          • Jonah Cash

            I got my PC 3 weeks ago and I am going to try and keep track of what it cost me and what games will cost me over the first year… Maybe I will do an article on it or something…
            Also I wish I had a mom to buy me gaming toys!!

    • oVg

      Hello boys 😉

  • Admiral Chief

    My favourite Lara by far

  • oVg

    So it sold 8million copies over 2 years on 5 platforms and had to break 5 million for profit.

    XBOX ONE has sold 10 million consoles, probably only one quarter of those owners will buy the next TR game when compared to the small amount of RISE copies sold on the 70 million 360s. Not to mention all the attention will be focused on HALO.

    So… the games budget must be re-using all of the assets from RISE and only needs 1 million copies sold to break even. Or Microsoft paid the rest off.

    Timed exclusives for cross platform SEQUELS suck. Its a SEQUEL!!!

    • Admiral Chief

      This rant, I like it!

      • oVg

        Need more coffee 😛

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  • But hold on a second. Do those numbers include the versions downloaded in March when Tomb Raider was offered for free as part of the Games with Gold promotion on the XBOX 360?

  • KingRed

    Sqaure Enix kinda mess up with the time exclusive. I know I was going to be a day one buy. But now will not be buying at all. Was hype for the sequel too.
    This will hurt sales of the game not help it.

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