Square Enix internal sales targets revealed

2 min read


We heard last week from an investor that big budget games are required to sell over 5 million units to break even meaning that Tomb Raider’s current 3.6 million means it is looking like a commercial failure.

But that’s all just guessing isn’t it? Well no actually it isn’t. Somehow someone over at Neogaf has found a link to an internal Square Enix document that lists their targets for some of their top tiles.

You can find the original document here, unless Square has removed it but since it is all in Japanese it really doesn’t help.

But what it says is that Squeenix wanted each of these games to sell more than hey had:

  • Tomb Raider: 5-6 Million units
  • Hitman Absolution: 4.5-5 Million units
  • Sleeping Dogs: 2-2.5 Million units

Hitman is a great cult title but expecting it to sell over 4 million units just seems a little insane to be honest. It isn’t a mass market game like Call of Duty or FIFA so targets should really be altered to reflect that.

Last Updated: April 2, 2013

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Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

  • AndriyP

    THIS IS ENIX!!!!!

    • Admiral Chief Erwin


  • CaptainNemo42

    What I would like to know; the total budget for each of those games. Same type of transparency as we get from the film industry.

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      You know you’ll never get that, because (a) it will probably show that the game’s industry has been talking shit for years (b) everyone will comment on the unrealistic sale goals, and (c) they won’t be able to lie to their shareholders any more (d) gamers will realise they’re being nickle and dimed.

      The more I read about the industry as a whole, the more I’m convinced it’s one of the most corrupt industries on this planet.

      • CaptainNemo42

        Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not that ignorant to think we will actually get that kind of information. I just said it would be nice. 😛

        The industry is probably very corrupt and it’s driven by the “Might Dollar”, with shareholders just thinking of lining their pockets. People still think it to be juvenile, and that perception will not change unless they start being honest with us, and themselves.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    There’s a desperation with publishers that can’t be denied. EA, Squeeenix, Ubisoft etc. are all so eager to hit it big, but instead of taking a healthy dose of reality with their coco pops, they bank on selling big, where historical there wasn’t a surge to begin with,

    How do you rationalise that a franchise that over its lifetime (per average game) would sell ~ 8 million (or 1 – 2 mllion in the first 2 months), would suddenly sell 5 million in a month? I’m starting to think the powers-that-be need to exit their money lakes, and get a healthy dose of reality.

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      They are hoping that hype will push the sales. Like DiabloIII did. It sold on hype.

      Then when a game gets great recognition and excitement (Such as Hitman) they think that suddenly it means it can sell that amount simply because people are raving about it.

      It’s sad really. Most people wait for the prices to drop anyway before getting a game. I myself have a few month waiting period until the price drops.

      That and the fact that they are desperate because they keep sinking so much money in to stupid social interactions and marketing that they desperately need to sell more and more even when they know it isn’t possible.

      CoD and BF appeal to the masses. Other games appeal to niche groups. End of story. They need to learn to live with it.

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        Same here, Hitman will only be bought once the price drops, same with Tomb Raider. These days, It’s very rare that I’ll rush off to buy a game day one. There are a couple of games that I’ll do that for, but for the vast majority, regardless of how awesome they may be, the Jim’s wallet just does not allow that level of crazy spending.

        And that’s something the Industry doesn’t seem to get, just because COD can be get away with selling for $70 a pop, doesn’t mean everyone else can get away with it too. Instead, you’ll just see less sales overall, with the usual suspects doing well, and everyone else barely hitting their sale’s targets.

        • FoxOneZA

          Tomb Raider was going half price on European PSN past weekend. That proves that they are chasing a numbers game.

        • Twakkie

          Dude buy hitman NOW! Its 75% off on steam. Do it Banana Jim!

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Must… resist… can’t resist… STEAM!!!!

    • Deon Steyn

      Methinks they look at how many PS3 and Xbox units were sold coupled with a PC user base they then calculate how much should be sold.

      PS3 January 2013 estimate is 77 million sold, XBOX 360 as if February 76 millions sold. That’s 153 million consoles!

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        I suppose if you’re a MBA, who just made his mark elsewhere, the gaming industry must seem so simple. 153 million consoles must equate to 153 million potential sales, because after all, ALL GAMES ARE THE SAME, RIGHT? Those gamers will buy anything – poor addicted creatures.

        And yet, the reality is far from it. A larger number of gamers are niche gamers, they stick to specific genres, and sometimes even specific titles.

        Do you know what I found to be the most depressing infobite from last week, the SHEER majority of gamers who played Mass Effect 3, played as fucking Soldier class.. FUCKING SOLDIER CLASS…, and very few of those gamers ever saw Wrex…

        How fucking vanilla… That is so depressing…

        I think while it’s easy to blame publishers, gamers are also to blame, because we’re ultimately telling game developers what we want, or at least that the majority wants linear vanilla experiences, and then when that’s delivered, sales drop even further…

        • Deon Steyn

          Save us Bioshock!

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Save us indeed, Bioshock!

          • It has lads, it has.

        • Extremely depressing! …. want to have creative play styles? nope, I just want to shoot things the same way I shoot things in COD.

          I busted out my ps2 over the long weekend, played the crap out of Shin Megami Tensei III. and I realized, the further we get into the next generation of gaming the less of those types of games we will see. Everything is generic and everything needs to make money. gamers will all become mindless twitchers who cannot fathom a game without shooting.

          I share your depression, and I share it badly.

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

          This is the thing though. If you were smart in business, you wouldn’t budget the same for a linear, vanilla shooter as for a niche game. It’s stupid.

          CoD you can budget big and expect 7million sales.

          Tomb Raider you can’t. It’s not a mass market kind of game and if you budgeted it and spent on development what you would on Call Of Duty or any other such game then you are an idiot. You should have budgeted and spent KNOWING the game is a niche game.

          So is it really the fault of the gamer? Everyone has specific tastes. So why not use that knowledge (In this digital age it is exceptionally easy to get that info) to their benefit and plan properly?

          So yeah, we can blame gamers. But the thing is we chose what we want to play. No matter what hobby there is always a base of players that prefer one thing over something else. Gaming is no different. The majority prefer shooters. That’s the way it is.

          Developers can make quality shooters and know it will sell well.

          They can also make quality games of any other genre, albeit a smaller budget, and still make a killing. It just takes some common business sense.

    • Twakkie

      It is really scary since this is precisely the reason why the gaming industry crashed previously. Over saturation of mediocre games,a consumer base which is growing weary of previously mentioned games and to help us along the recession road, now we have development cost skyrocketing, which in turn results in consumer costs.
      The question is, will we learn from history or repeat it.

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        That’s my worry as well, have you seen the stocks of the major players over the last 5 years? They’ve practically dropped 60% of their worth, and they’re still falling. Microsoft is the only one that seems to have escape the recession, but only just… (and in that case it has nothing to do with the game’s industry, but rather merely that it’s a software company)

        So obviously publishers are extremely desperate, but instead of putting the brakes on things, and rethinking their business models, they’re steam-rolling forward, like a bunch of lemmings towards a cliff.

        The numbers don’t lie, gaming is going to hit a wall, and not many of the current publishers will survive. All I hope is that Activision and EA see their ass. lol. They’re the reason this trend is accelerating (IMHO)… —> Low-quality games, sold at high prices…

        • Twakkie

          Its a very sad state of affairs in which the gaming industry finds itself in today. You call them lemmings, I call them monkeys. As long as they get their banana at the end of the day, they couldn’t care less for the rest of the zoo.

          Human nature tends to follow and not lead. And if EA and Activision doesnt do some introspecting before this thing blows up, most other companies will follow them down the drain since, and I hate admitting this, they are the leading publishers in the industry. I dont wish the gone, only reshuffled. Losing any gaming company is bad.

  • Deon Steyn

    Maybe they should mass market Hitman? Release it yearly like Cod?

  • Admiral Chief Erwin

    Does it count if you bought Hitman on a 75% discount?

    • FoxOneZA

      Blerry A-Gent!!!! 😛

    • Anon A Mouse

      I’m waiting for my copy as well, got that on the cheap although mine was like 50% off, still brand new and sealed

  • They expected sleeping dogs, spiritual successor to true crime … a series of games that sold just over 2 million (L.A = 1.38 mil and NY 780 000) to sell 2-2.5 Million units …. are they insane in the membrane!!!!!

  • FoxOneZA

    These companies could easily achieve those sales targets within a month if the just dropped the pricing. FIFA and Crysis 3 both sold at R399 within a month of launching. Why can’t lesser known games sell at the same price or even cheaper?

  • Purple_Dragon

    Reminds me of mark to market accounting bullshit.

  • OVG


    6 MILLION X $59 = what they need to start making profit???????

    IF SO THEN THE NEXT GEN IS SO FUCKED. (Does it cost more to make games with a 512mb HD or 8gigs?????)

    If the most Iconic game character cant get 3% of console owners to buy her game (NOT JUST TOMB RAIDER EITHER) then a CRASH is comming.

  • OVG

    6 YEARS, 140Million Consoles and games cant catch 3% of the market. AND THOSE ARE THE AAA GAMES.

  • matthurstrsa

    Its fine to set high targets to push for quality etc, but at least be realistic.

  • ViciousDS

    out of the 360 million they made…..they didn’t make profit…..i find that bullshit considering star wars the old republic is the most expensive game to date and it cost 150 million to 200 million……I say Square Enix is crying wolf. There downfall is because of there final fantasy division for the last 10 years, not there 3rd party developing companies. Something is not adding up all 3 of those games easily made about $1 Billion in Revenue, you cannot tell me that it cost even close to that for budget. I’m sorry this does not add up even close.

  • Verrayne

    I wonder if all the playstation plus downloads of sleeping dogs will count for anything..

  • Tbone187

    Sales targets are Always exaggerated… Don’t let anybody fool you otherwise…

  • Aussious

    Its really strange that a developer that was once known for the likes of Crono Cross, Final Fantasy, Vagrant Story and other great Japanese games now has to depend on Western ip’s to break even. I miss Squaresoft…

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Every night, I lie in my bed and think.. Vagrant Story 2… Why they never made a sequel is a question that burns me right in my soul… 🙁

      • Aussious

        Vagrant Story and Xenogear… both lost forever.

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