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Dead Space 2 Selling 4M "Wasn't Enough"

Zach Wilson tweets a visceral reaction to the news that EA is shutting down Visceral as part of their realignment of their upcoming Star Wars game. The former Visceral designer is now at Bethesda, and he shares his experience from the 2011 release of Dead Space 2, saying that they were told the game's sales did not justify its budget, "Dead Space 2 cost 60 Million dollars to make and they were merciless with their budget. they only sold 4 mil and that wasn't enough." This is not directly relevant to the current situation, but the ensuing thread delves further into the economics of digital distribution, and he implies that royalties from distributors like Steam factor into why a game can sell well and still be considered a financial failure. Thanks NeoGAF via DSOGaming.

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30. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 19, 2017, 10:25 Creston
 
Nailbender wrote on Oct 19, 2017, 09:46:
The real Bioware, Bioware as we knew it, is long gone already, but the way Andromeda was handled was pretty much the final nail in their coffin.

I don't really agree. Edmonton is still there, they made ME2 and ME3 which I thought were awesome (ME3's ending notwithstanding, and they even fixed that). It's Edmonton that's making Anthem.


I now fully realize that EA are indeed the bane of the gaming industry. When ALL that matters is money (and only huge amounts of it), absolutely nothing else.

All big publishers are this way now. The stock market is the bane of mankind.
 
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29. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 19, 2017, 09:46 Nailbender
 
Creston wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 11:11:
Wallshadows wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 10:49:
It's pretty funny and sad how Jim Sterling was exactly right about this happening over two years ago. Which studio is next? BioWare? Place your bets an stay tuned!

If Anthem tanks, Bioware is dead.
The real Bioware, Bioware as we knew it, is long gone already, but the way Andromeda was handled was pretty much the final nail in their coffin. Whatever the profits and success of Anthem amounts to, it's not going to be the next Overwatch, and EA seems to be bent on thinking "If Studio X doesn't produce the next Overwatch or WOW, the profits are too small and we will kill it". So, basically, all of the studios EA owns and will own are living on borrowed time.
I now fully realize that EA are indeed the bane of the gaming industry. When ALL that matters is money (and only huge amounts of it), absolutely nothing else.
 
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28. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 19, 2017, 09:11 Verno
 
Mordhaus wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 20:00:
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 13:00:
Slightly offtopic: Bioware is no longer the old school Bioware obviously, but they'll probably make a metric shitload of money on Anthem, they aren't going anywhere.

They aren't even Bioware anymore. An online only multiplayer shooter? What version of Bioware would have ever sunk that low to release an online only game without solo player story and content? The saddest thing would be if it did succeed, because then all Bioware will be is the name attached to the endless series of sequels, like DICE and whichever 'new' Battlefield rehash they have out this quarter.

Indeed. It saddens me that the gaming industry is no longer a place that's home to telling stories first, its just about monetization in its purest form now. You can't have a good player driven story anymore, you need to consider how to increase your post launch profit margins and create sustainable revenue streams.

I would rather pay increased prices for games and still get that kind of content instead of this nonsense.
 
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27. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 20:00 Mordhaus
 
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 13:00:
Slightly offtopic: Bioware is no longer the old school Bioware obviously, but they'll probably make a metric shitload of money on Anthem, they aren't going anywhere.

They aren't even Bioware anymore. An online only multiplayer shooter? What version of Bioware would have ever sunk that low to release an online only game without solo player story and content? The saddest thing would be if it did succeed, because then all Bioware will be is the name attached to the endless series of sequels, like DICE and whichever 'new' Battlefield rehash they have out this quarter.
 
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26. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 19:19 RedEye9
 
jdreyer wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 12:43:
Dead Space 2 would have made more money if they'd done DLC, microtransactions, in-game ads, and loot boxes.
More games should do this, it's perfectly legal, moral and good.
Red886 wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 13:46:
it's kinda known that tricks used in hollywood accounting is not only confined to studios.
so true
 
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25. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 18:06 HorrorScope
 
If they want to try to be transparent and find some sympathy, they need to share revenue, not total sold. How many here own it and paid full retail? If this sold 4 million the first month, it would have been a different story. I got for no more than $15.  
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24. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 18:01 Beamer
 
Slashman wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 17:42:
christheshitter wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 14:26:
I find it hilarious that everyone praise Witcher 3 again and again. I can't repeat it enough, that game has a shit combat system where all you do is spamming a button to auto attack just like the Batman Arkham games or like every consolegame out there.

I find it equally hilarious that you just don't get that the combat system in W3 was just fine and button mashing was only possible on the lower and default difficulty levels. Those levels were made because everyone complained about how Witcher 2 had combat that was too hard.

Shitty stupid NPC's pathfinding which constantly walking into things. Robbing from NPC's and they don't react. Hell damn even Risen or the Gothic-series had smarter NPC's.

If this is the sum total of your complaints about one of, if not the best, CRPGs in more than a decade, then you are a kid who wouldn't appreciate a good RPG if it walked up to you and punched you in the gut.

Is combat even that important in a CRPG?
I will agree, I got a bit tired of the combat towards the end. It certainly wasn't Dark Souls (so I assume, I've never played, I just know it's similarly 3rd person combat and very routinely praised.) But I also loved Uncharted, and the combat in that serious got outright tedious halfway through whereas I made it nearly all the way through TW3 and the 2 expansions before I started getting "a bit tired."

Some games are more than just their combat.
 
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23. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 17:42 Slashman
 
christheshitter wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 14:26:
I find it hilarious that everyone praise Witcher 3 again and again. I can't repeat it enough, that game has a shit combat system where all you do is spamming a button to auto attack just like the Batman Arkham games or like every consolegame out there.

I find it equally hilarious that you just don't get that the combat system in W3 was just fine and button mashing was only possible on the lower and default difficulty levels. Those levels were made because everyone complained about how Witcher 2 had combat that was too hard.

Shitty stupid NPC's pathfinding which constantly walking into things. Robbing from NPC's and they don't react. Hell damn even Risen or the Gothic-series had smarter NPC's.

If this is the sum total of your complaints about one of, if not the best, CRPGs in more than a decade, then you are a kid who wouldn't appreciate a good RPG if it walked up to you and punched you in the gut.
 
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22. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 15:52 Verno
 
Well, you still should have accounted for taxes and retailer cut, cost of goods and all that

I did in variable costs, those are variable unit costs. Variable unit and variable marketing are considered separate. I wasn't stating they made "240M profit", it was revenue. All I was saying is that I see room for profit there but you never know what kind of pooled overhead they cram in these things from corporate. I think its more about ROI vs risk with this franchise and that's understandable I guess. Dead Space was never going to put up COD figures and for a company like EA that's just not good enough apparently. I'm just flabbergasted they spent 60M marketing it.
 
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21. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 15:50 CJ_Parker
 
Orogogus wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 15:36:
CJ_Parker wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 15:10:
Well, you still should have accounted for taxes and retailer cut, cost of goods and all that .

(snip)

Some of those things wouldn't be applicable to revenue -- in particular, cost of goods would be explicitly separated from revenue -- although things like retailer cut would be applicable since EA never sees that money.

I think DS2 probably did have a lot of discounted sales, though (EDIT: On PC, anyway). It was in at least one Humble Bundle, and it was on sale for $5 several times, including within about a year of release.

Why would it not be applicable? Those boxes, disks, "manuals" etc. do not reproduce themselves by locking them in at night .
A very quick Google search leads here where they guesstimate the publisher receives $27 from every $60 console copy with COG included and deducted.

As I said in my post, I have usually seen numbers in the $20 to $25 range. Right here, for example, they end up with a low $18. The non-universal "truth" is probably somewhere in between so I guess I was in the right ballpark with $20 to $25 per copy for the publisher.
 
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20. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 15:36 Orogogus
 
CJ_Parker wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 15:10:
Well, you still should have accounted for taxes and retailer cut, cost of goods and all that .

(snip)

Some of those things wouldn't be applicable to revenue -- in particular, cost of goods would be explicitly separated from revenue -- although things like retailer cut would be applicable since EA never sees that money.

I think DS2 probably did have a lot of discounted sales, though (EDIT: On PC, anyway). It was in at least one Humble Bundle, and it was on sale for $5 several times, including within about a year of release.
 
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19. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 15:10 CJ_Parker
 
Verno wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 12:43:
Primalchrome wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 11:40:
Verno wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 10:09:
I still see plenty of room there for profit.

With revenue of 240M and fixed costs of 60M, you only have to cover your variable unit costs and variable marketing. I find it hard to believe it was 120M in variable costs alone.
....not sure where you're getting $240M. They sold 4 million copies total. It released at ~$60...and later went on sale. The game probably generated $180M at best.

I don't have access to those figures so I just multiplied by the known price at release. The majority of sales we're told happen in the first 30-60 days so it felt somewhat fair at the time

Well, you still should have accounted for taxes and retailer cut, cost of goods and all that .

We know from "insiders" that a publisher receives approximately $20 to $25 max from every $60 console sale after the deduction of sales taxes, cost of goods, shipping & handling, misc distribution costs and the retailer cut.

Dead Space 2 is a pretty old game so digital sales were probably fairly low back then (30% max... probably closer to 20%). Even today the big publishers only make about 50% to 60% from digital sales. The rest is still good old disks for consoles.

We don't know for sure if $60 million includes the marketing or not. The source article does not state this so it was probably the whole budget including marketing (or where did @Primalchrome get the info that there was an additional $60 million just for marketing?).

We also do not know if all 4 million were full price sales or what time period this covers but I believe you guys are aiming way too high.

Best case if all 4 million copies really sold at full price is:
4 million full price copies, i.e. approximately 15% on PC and 85% consoles as is a usual distribution for big publishers so 85% of 4 million = 3.4m copies x $25 = $85m revenue from consoles plus 15% of 4 million = 600K copies x $20 = $12m revenue on PC.

So the absolute best case is that EA made a gross revenue of a little under a $100 million but it was probably way less than that due to a much lower average sales price of those 4 million copies.
 
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18. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 15:08 Kxmode
 
Of course it wasn't enough. EA shareholders only think in big quarterly numbers.  
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17. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 14:26 christheshitter
 
Slashman wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 12:03:
Making traditional AAA titles is becoming less and less sustainable.

I'm certainly buying less of them at, or near, launch (if I buy them at all).

There are a few franchises that continue to deliver above and beyond on a consistent basis, but the gems in my gaming collection are much more so indie games than anything else these days. (Well Witcher 3 is always going to be there of course).

These days I find myself playing stuff like Grim Dawn, Space Pirates and Zombies 2, Everspace, Divinity: OS 1 and 2, Hand of Fate, Age of Wonders 3 and not really having any cravings for AAA titles apart from whenever they release the next Elder Scrolls game.

I find it hilarious that everyone praise Witcher 3 again and again. I can't repeat it enough, that game has a shit combat system where all you do is spamming a button to auto attack just like the Batman Arkham games or like every consolegame out there.

Shitty stupid NPC's pathfinding which constantly walking into things. Robbing from NPC's and they don't react. Hell damn even Risen or the Gothic-series had smarter NPC's.
 
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16. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 13:58 Creston
 
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 13:00:
Slightly offtopic: Bioware is no longer the old school Bioware obviously, but they'll probably make a metric shitload of money on Anthem, they aren't going anywhere.

I dunno. Bioware's name isn't good enough to drive sales by themselves anymore, especially after the Andromeda shitfest, and initial response to the Anthem trailer was predominantly negative. And you know EA has pumped BIG money into it, since they want it to be / replace Destiny (2). So if it doesn't sell 10 million copies at least, I can easily see EA whining that they didn't sell enough.
 
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15. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 13:46 Red886
 
it's kinda known that tricks used in hollywood accounting is not only confined to studios.  
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14. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 13:19 Orogogus
 
jdreyer wrote on Oct 18, 2017, 12:43:
Dead Space 2 would have made more money if they'd done DLC, microtransactions, in-game ads, and loot boxes.

No ads or loot boxes, but it did have DLC -- some extra suits and weapons, mostly, although it was all console-only and came free with the PC version. I think there was a map pack that didn't make it to PC.
 
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13. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 13:13 Cutter
 
A) Why the hell would a game like that cost that much?
B) How much did the game actually cost to develop and how much of that 60 mil was marketing? I'm wagering that 2/3's of it was likely marketing.
 
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12. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 13:00 MoreLuckThanSkill
 
Not really a surprise. I loved Dead Space 2, but I'm reasonably sure I got it like a month after release for under $15? 4 million sold, definitely not anywhere near full price for all of them. Plus, as he says, %30 for Steam's share... rough for triple A single player games.

Slightly offtopic: Bioware is no longer the old school Bioware obviously, but they'll probably make a metric shitload of money on Anthem, they aren't going anywhere.
 
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11. Re: Dead Space 2 Selling 4M Oct 18, 2017, 12:43 jdreyer
 
Dead Space 2 would have made more money if they'd done DLC, microtransactions, in-game ads, and loot boxes.  
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