News: Gamers Dig Deep in a Double Fine Show of Affection

Double Fine Logo
Double Fine Logo

A 1.34 Million Dollar Vote of Confidence

Double Fine Productions boss, Tim Schafer, set tongues wagging this week when a Twitter conversation he had with Minecraft’s Markus ‘Notch’ Persson led to a new found hope that Schafer would finally get the funding to begin production on the much discussed Psychonauts 2, yet it stands as a testament to the enormity of the past 24 hours that this interaction will likely stand as a footnote to the week’s Schafer related news.

What news could overshadow this lifeline to the much loved Psychonauts franchise? How about a brand new traditional style adventure game co-created by Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert, the masterminds behind the Monkey Island series? Schafer announced his new project on the Kickstarter website, a website dedicated to sourcing fan seed money for the development of independent projects. Schafer boldly announced his intention to generate $400,000 in this manner within thirty days, yet just eight hours after the page went live the target was already reached, and then soundly bested. The sum raised currently stands at 1.34 million dollars as of writing, yet this figure tends to inflate by the hour.

For the modest sum of fifteen dollars gamers will receive access to both beta and release versions of the game (through Steam), as well as a comprehensive and ongoing video series documenting the creation of the game – while for a pledge of $100 gamers can have themselves immortalised in the game’s credits. There are of course a higher tier of rewards on offer for high rollers, however these finite perks have been largely exhausted, with eighty people having pledged over a thousand dollars, ten people pledging over five thousand dollars and one person having pledged over ten thousand dollars. Schafer’s stated aim with the game is for it to have a quick turn-around of between six and nine months, yet given the staggering magnitude of extra funding accrued over the last day, one would be ill-advised to rule out an extravagant revision to the game design.

Namco Bandai Post Bumper Third Quarter Results on the Back of Xillia

Namco Bandai have seen both their revenue stream and overall profits grow by a substantial margin during the third quarter of the 2011 business year, leading to impressive year on year results. The company’s most impressive sales have been on the PS3 platform.

Namco Bandai have posted their third quarter results this week to stunning effect. Namco Bandai’s content division saw revenues increase from $756.8 million in 2010 to $832.5 million in 2011. Meanwhile opperating revenue increased from $79.2 million in 2010 to $80.6 million in 2011. In terms of the overall business, revenues were up from $1.5 billion in 2010 to $1.7 billion in 2011, while profits were up from $72.1 million in 2010 to $106.5 million in 2011.

Namco Bandai’s blockbuster JRPG, Tales of Xillia, along with Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. have been credited with the corporate software arm’s good fortune, selling 760,000 and 550,000 units respectively. Other notable performers were Ben 10 Racing, AKB1/482 and One Piece Giant Battle.

With such robust fortunes bestowed upon them, one can but hope that Namco Bandai will see fit to release Tales of Xillia stateside within the near future.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Logo
Final Fantasy XIII-2 Logo

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Launches to Solid First Week Sales in the West game of the month (if not year), Final Fantasy XIII-2, has launched to a fairly solid first week of sales, seeing PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game ranking in positions one and two of the global top ten.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 saw initial US sales of 425,951 on the PS3 and 152,118 units sold on the 360. Meanwhile Europe was able to amass similarly sound figures with 264,897 units sold for the PS3 and 145,421 units sold on the 360. Finally, the game has seen moderate success in the World’s other sundry territories, accruing 0.13 million in sales for the PS3 and 0.04 million units sold on the 360. When combined into the totals already generated by the Japanese market’s three month headstart, the totals for the game stand at 1.64 million units sold on PS3 and 0.36 million units sold 360.

While these figures may constitute a drop-off in relation to the extremely top heavy sales of Final Fantasy XIII, they nevertheless represent solid sales for a JRPG in the West, and provide a firm base for the game to build on in subsequent weeks. The big question will be whether word of mouth is able to excite some kind of momentum behind the game, making its sales more evergreen than those of its highly controversial prequel. At any rate, it would be a regrettable mistake for any JRPG fan to miss out on Square Enix’s sincere apology for the missteps taken with the previous game.


  1. Double Fine made money! Namco Bandai made money! Square Enix made money!

    I want to make money!

  2. Julian, as a practicing engineer and a nit-picky jerk, I have to point out the inconsistency in the way you reported the sold units of FFXIII-2. It’s considered to be bad practice and unprofessional in any technical industry to report comparable pieces of data in different forms (like reporting some sales totals in single units and some sales totals in millions of units) because it makes the data more difficult to compare. I’m guessing you had more precise sales numbers for the US and Europe than you did for the other territories, so that’s why you reported the numbers in different forms. Assuming that the least precise sales data was to the ten thousands place, one correct way to report the data would have been to round each sales number to the nearest ten thousand and report all of them in the form “ million” (where m is the millions, h is hundred thousands, and t is ten thousands).
    I realize this is a minute facet of style that is usually reserved for technical reports, but I think I remember a time when the Caspius motto included “pedantry.”

  3. Correct, Asia is an afterthought for most people. The full information was not available.

    I realise that two different standards of data would be problematic if used for attempting to discern meaningful and nuanced sales patterns, but these are just bite-sized news chunks written to entertain and inform the layman gamer. I am disinclined to alter more nuanced sales figures where available, and I figured that it was better to include the Asian figures rather than discarding them. Besides, the figures were sourced from VGChartz, so you take them at face value at your own peril.

  4. I can understand the desire to keep more precise data intact, but you could have instead altered the less precise sales figures (and added a qualifier like approximately to the less precise data) to match the form of the more precise sales figures. In my mind, the way you presented the data is similar to using different grammatical tenses in the same thought or set of thoughts. It’s inconsistent, lazy, and easy to fix. I’m not sure why you would argue against doing it the proper way when it doesn’t detract from the entertainment or informative value of the article. Also, just because the data comes from a dubious source doesn’t mean it’s unnecessary to report the data as properly as possible, especially if you’re presenting as fact, as you are in the article.

    It may seem ridiculous that I won’t let this go, but half of the reason I still listen to (and promote) the podcast and lurk on this site is because the staff members and commenters generally try to get things right (the most recent example I can think of is the “how many” vs. “how much” discussion a few weeks back on the podcast). This is because I like to get things right when I can and I’m much less inclined to listen to someone when they don’t share the same desire. The other half is that I enjoy most of the personalities here, including yours. So, it’s a little disappointing to me that you would just sort of shrug off my suggestion to improve your data reporting format.

  5. Yea, well this is a gaming site, not Statisticians Quarterly – and most of us come from a literary background. Now, I will try and bare in mind your criticisms, but they hardly factor very highly on my list of priorities.

  6. Fair enough. If you simply don’t want to do or won’t think to do it because it’s not your thing and/or it’s not important to you, I can understand that. There’s no need to talk down to me in the process. My original intent was only to offer a better way to present your data, even if it didn’t come off that way.

  7. If I talk down to you it is only because you were being small.

    I did you the courtesy of explaining the full decision making process employed by myself in writing up the XIII-2 news story, which is hardly shrugging off your original comment. I find it regrettable that you find this “a little disappointing”, but there you go ..

    Best to let this go now I think.

  8. I prefer to think of myself as detail oriented, but I admit that’s just a more positive way to describe my “small” nature. I don’t entirely agree that me being small is a good justification for you insulting me, but I do agree that I took it too far in this case and you did address my comment so I’ll drop it.

  9. @Brettsuo: As a general rule, we try to provide our readers with the most precise figures that we have as a matter of journalistic integrity. To this end, you will sometimes see different representations of figures for different regions, because the accuracy of the figures for those regions are themselves different. When the figures differ in accuracy, they cannot necessarily be presented in the same representational style due to the concept of Significant Figures.

    To change the representational style would either imply an accuracy the figures do not possess on the one hand, or to play down the accuracy the figures do possess on the other. Moreover, it would be journalistically inappropriate for us to emend the figures we receive or report in any way, including (but not limited to) reformatting them to match other figures, as this could again result in an issue where the accuracy we would then be reporting would not necessarily be the same as that of our source. Hence, the figures must stay as we receive them.

  10. I understand and am grateful for the thorough explanation. As long as we’re getting technical, however, I would like you to clarify a point you make above that is a little ambiguous. Is it that it is always journalistically inappropriate to modify a given reported figure in any way or only when modifying it in such a way that the precision (which is not interchangeable with accuracy) of the figure changes? I ask because it is always possible to present any set of comparable data all in the same representational style without changing the number of significant figures if any necessary conversions are done properly (and the style is carefully chosen to avoid ambiguous trailing zeroes). For example, 264,897 sales can be changed to 0.264897 million sales, which, regarding my original point in commenting on this article, can be more easily compared (i.e. without any further conversion) to a figure like 0.13 million sales. This meets the requirements of conserving sig figs (my college professors actually talked so much about the concept of significant figures that in multiple courses they felt it necessary to abbreviate). And yes, I realize that reporting “0.264897 million” in sales would not be the preferred format for journalists.

    Also, just as a point of curiosity (since I have very little experience in any type of journalism), would one sacrifice journalistic integrity if they did, say, round the numbers of some figures to some consistent format and simply state that they did so under a “full disclosure” warning or something similar?

  11. @Brett: In order to avoid errors with significant figures, our staff are not allowed to change the numerical facts of a source, full stop. There might be situations where it is not an issue, but because there are situations where it would be an issue, it is banned across the board. (And it also allows us to directly cite rather than paraphrase, which is always preferred.)

    To put this another way, I require that my staff (who are mostly involved in literary, not scientific, pursuits) focus on reporting the facts they are given precisely as they are given them, rather than to have them know about–for example–when figures are significant and what this would mean for conversion. In this way, my staff are not going to introduce errors in accuracy through well-meaning, but mistaken, attempts to correct the symmetry of figures from their sources (which isn’t really their job in the first place, of course).

  12. Gotcha. I am finally (and thankfully, I’m sure) in 100% understanding of and agreement with your policy on this issue. Thanks for humouring my nit-picky B.S.

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