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Tomb Raider needs to sell 5 million to break even

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A little earlier today, We told you how Square-Enix was a little disappointed with the sales of some of its big titles, including the recently released Tomb Raider, which has shifted 3.4 million units since its release earlier this month. It’s just not enough, and according to one industry analyst, those big-budget blockbuster games need to sell between 5 and 10 million units to make any money.

Industry analyst Billy Pidgeon told Gi.Biz that such games are becoming ludicrously expensive, blaming Square-Enix’s woes on its focus on single player IP.

“The AAA market is extremely competitive. Most of Square Enix’s franchises are single player games, which are less popular than multiplayer. Square Enix has been a leader in that sector, but now faces stronger competition from multiple publishers, both large and small, including Bethesda, Capcom, Xseed, Atlus and Level 5.

Square Enix’s franchises are well established and require ever-higher production budgets to match and surpass past performance. The latest Hitman and Tomb Raider sold in the three million unit range and got Metacritic ratings above 8.

Those numbers would rate as successful for JRPGs that earn more from vendors as exclusives and have manageable budgets. But for games with development budgets approaching $100 million to be truly profitable, ratings have to be above 8.5 and sales need to be in the five to ten million unit range.”

Square-Enix has published some of my favourite very single-player games this gen, like Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Sleeping Dogs – and it would be shame if this nonsense forces the publisher to start pushing out needless multiplayer that gets tacked on everything (much like Tomb Raider’s needless multiplayer) then I think we all lose.

With the current climate, I really don’t see any games that aren’t Call of duty, Battlefield, or FIFA doing those sorts of numbers.

Last Updated: March 27, 2013

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