Square Enix is very, very sorry about what a bunch of bombs Hitman: Absolution, Tomb Raider, and Sleeping Dogs were. After all, they only sold… 3.4 million, 3.6 million, and 1.75 million copies as of March 31st.
… Wait, what?
It just gets weirder when you read Yoichi Wada’s explanation of why these “failures” drove him to quit, and when you discover this doesn’t include digital sales or sales inside Japan.
“Let’s talk about Sleeping Dogs: we were looking at selling roughly 2-2.25 million units in the European/North American market based on game content, genre and Metacritic scores.
In the same way, game quality and Metacritic scores led us to believe that Hitman had the potential to sell 4.5-5 million units, and 5-6 million units for Tomb Raider in European/North American and Japanese markets combined.
Poking around the Create Media data, apparently the real problem here is that while these games were doing well in the West, Japanese gamers just did not buy them. To give you an idea of how much Japanese gamers are worth, Square Enix lost $90 million last quarter.
But really, the problem here is expectations. All three of the above games are absolutely great: Well-designed, fun to play, and can eat up hours of your life. And a few years ago, moving over three million copies would be a champagne moment.
Now it’s unacceptable, and frankly, this has to stop. Any game selling five million copies in the current generation generally requires either being a pack-in with a popular peripheral, being a console exclusive, or having “Call of Duty” in your title.
Developers and publishers need to adjust the goalposts so they can win the game. Otherwise… what’s the point?