What in the hell is happening at Square-Enix?

2 min read
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disappointment

As you might be aware, Square-Enix president Yoichi Wada, who was appointed head of the company after the merger between Squaresoft and Enix in 2003, has resigned from the company, with Yosuke Matsuda set to take over in June. This follows poor commercial reception of some of its heavy hitting published titles, such as the recent Tomb Raider reboot, that only sold 3 and a half million units. Wait, what?

Yes, according to Square-Enix, many of its most recently released titles have failed to live up to retail expectations.

That includes Tomb Raider at 3.4 Million units shifted (in just over a month!), Hitman Absolution with 3.6 million, and Sleeper hit sleeping dogs only managing 1.75 million. Together, that equals 8.75 million sales worldwide –  short of the company’s expected sales tally of  14.9 million retail units.  That, mind you, doesn’t include any digital sales of those games whatsoever – so it’s likely that the numbers are significantly higher. But still, it’s apparently just not good enough.

SEprojections

You have to wonder just what in the hell is wrong with current, accountant-run game development when 3 and a half million units sold isn’t considered a success.

At the beginning of this gen, 1 million in sales was generally considered to be the point at which games broke even; have development costs surged so high in the past few years that it takes 4 million in sales just to recoup costs? What does that say of the next gen?

Or is it, perhaps, that publishers are expecting too much; hoping that every single game sells in the same ludicrous numbers as each annual Call of Duty? It’s incredibly unrealistic, driven, I suspect, by corporate accountants in suits with their impossible to reach, unrealistic sales projections.

If 3.4 million sales in a month doesn’t satisfy expectation, then I’m afraid you’re going to have to lower them.

Last Updated: March 27, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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