News: Square Enix Releases Internal Targets for Tomb Raider

Eidos has undone all the good work of the myriad fantastic Japanese titles that Square Enix had released during the previous fiscal year.
Tomb Raider: All the Bravest?

Square Enix Reveals the Scope of Eidos Failure

Dismal failures: Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution, and Sleeping Dogs have recently come to public attention on account of their plunging the otherwise profitable enterprise of Square Enix into the depths of unprofitability. Square Enix were poised to make a 3.5 billion yen profit for the year until the sudden Western failure of these key franchises, leading to losses of 13 billion yen [approximately $140,000,000]. The internal studio sales targets, which were regarded as crucial for the success of these titles, have been disclosed this week, and have served to lay bare the full and terrible scope of this Western Eidos failure.

The Square Enix conservative internal mid-range prediction was that Tomb Raider would sell between 5-6 million units, Hitman: Absolution would sell between 4.5-5 million units, and that Sleeping Dogs would sell between 2-2.5 million units. Thus, when these titles sold a mere 3.4, 3.6, and 1.75 million copies respectively, it posed a software-sales shortfall of 2.75 million units, which in turn cost the company’s bottom-line a cool 16.5 billion yen, forcing Square Enix to take on 13 billion yen in losses.

Let’s talk about Sleeping Dogs: we were looking at selling roughly 2~2.5 million units in the EUR/NA market based on its 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 EUR/NA and Japanese markets combined.

Of course, we want to hedge risk in budgeting these units directly into the forecast, therefore we base the forecast on 80-90% of the total sales potential of each title. However, it is disappointing that our results fell bellow these marks.

Truly startling results out of Square Enix! The Eidos management structure must have really run awry if just three of their console titles cost somewhere significantly north of 16.5 billion yen in order to produce and market. One can only hope that these disgraceful Western failures do not compromise the running of Square Enix’s hyper efficient Japanese arm.

Ubisoft Logo Black Background
In the year 2XXX a corrupt corporation is punished for the digital horrors they created.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Leaked Online Two Weeks Before Release

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is the hottest name in first-person shooters at the moment. The game’s existence was only confirmed on April 1st, and already it is just a stone’s throw away from its April 30 launch. Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Blood Dragon is set in a world best described as a 1980s VHS imagining of the future [circa 2007]. Michael Biehn [of Terminator and Aliens fame] has been cast as Sergent Rex Power Colt, the part cyborg protagonist tasked with infiltrating a futuristic island and bringing down the hostile cyborg army, Omega Force.

The creativity behind this title has lead to much in the way of positive buzz, and even the gaming press has not been [officially] allowed to play past the initial ten minutes of gameplay – and yet many PC gamers have played the campaign through to completion gratis. Russian hackers have developed a piece of software which exploits a weakness in Uplay, Ubisoft’s obnoxious DRM platform, in order to trick it into thinking that the user’s account owns the content of their choosing, and thus furnishing them with a direct download link for the selected software. As such, Blood Dragon has been released two weeks early on PC, and can be found on multiple torrent sites. While the game in question looks great, one must admit to a certain satisfaction that Ubisoft’s own DRM has led to their operations being compromised in such a way. Piracy is currently the only way for PC gamers to enjoy Blood Dragon without being subjected to unacceptable Uplay DRM.

A bridge over troubled waters? HARDLY!
Who could have foreseen this stunning Revelaiton?

Resident Evil: Revelations HD Release To Feature ‘Season Pass’ and DLC

When Resident Evil: Revelations HD was announced for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC, its fifty dollar price-tag felt a little steep given that the same title had been available on the 3DS for over a year at a launch-price of forty dollars. The price-hike was a little hard to stomach, but then the title was receiving completely revamped textures, lighting, and of course a large bump in resolution – so this seemed to balance things somewhat.

This week a pre-order campaign on Steam has revealed that Resident Evil: Revelations HD is set to feature a ‘season pass’. The Steam campaign was offering tiers of rewards for pre-orderers based on how many people pre-order the game. One of the reward tiers is for a ‘season pass’ granting access to four pieces of DLC which appear to pertain to the game’s ‘Raid Mode’; a mode which remixes the main campaign’s content into challenging score-attack stages. The game’s pricing was already a difficult pill to swallow given that this is just a re-heat of old content, but outfitting the game with ‘season passes’ and paid DLC is just a bridge too far. When Resident Evil 4 was released for the PS2 it contained the additional ‘Separate Ways’ campaign for no extra cost. If the Resident Evil: Revelations HD team wish to develop more content for ‘Raid Mode’, then said content should be free of charge in order to compensate for the game’s late and overly expensive arrival on HD platforms.

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  1. Yay, another example of DRM effectively sitting on its own balls. Huzzah!

    And I wonder if the PS2 was capable of DLC, then perhaps Capcom would have charged extra for the additional content. Sad as that would be.

  2. How much money did redesigning FFXIV while creating a new engine for that Agni’s Philosophy cost? These projects that they’re paying employees to work on but aren’t bringing in money? Their shifted blame on Eidos games shows, I think, that they wished them to be a safe investment to help bankroll what the other things – which isn’t fair to Eidos, who are making decent enough games.

    In reference to the Resident Evil story: this is something that Caspius, et al. have already harped upon, but the truth of it bears being said again, that the goodwill and community support that games such as Team Fortress 2, Unreal Tournament, etc. build by releasing map packs and such gratis outweighs short-term profit via DLC. I mean, we as consumers are in no way obligated to buy berated, bloatedly priced games given all our options. I think making that initial game purchase “worth it” to more of us would make more money overall than nickel-and-diming whoever do buy it.

  3. This is why you shouldn’t use or support metacritic my friends. It only leads to heartbreak.

    Those games while I have not personally played them were considered to be good and from the sales they WERE good- Square just made a MASSIVE management failure because if you can’t make any money selling millions of copies of a game then what in the world are you doing? Where did the money go?

    Maybe they can eventually make their losses back in sustained sales of those games over time as the price goes down but I think breaking even is their best hope with those kinds of losses.

  4. @Korusi: That entire story was being sarcastic. I am 100% certain that Tomb Raider and Hitman made some sort of profit, and Sleeping Dogs probably did too.

    Eidos is just being scapegoated by Square Enix’s Japanese operations for their incredible inefficiency.

  5. Poe’s Law, anyone?

    After that clarification I reread that story and it suddenly clicked, but the first time I was definitely under the assumption it was another “Westernization of Square Enix bad! Bad!” spiels.

  6. Well, I got it the first time around.

    See, Silicon Noob? I can do a smart. I can!

  7. Shame,Timothy, shame.

    I had expected even Mel to pick up on that fact, and happily he did!

    Moreover, Poe’s law is false to anyone with reading comprehension.

  8. Matt Dance writes, “the goodwill and community support that games such as Team Fortress 2, Unreal Tournament, etc. build by releasing map packs and such gratis outweighs short-term profit via DLC. I mean, we as consumers are in no way obligated to buy berated, bloatedly priced games given all our options.”

    And he’s quite right.

  9. @SN Even if your article is tongue in cheek it doesn’t change that the official word from Square Enix is that they lost money on these projects. It is also widely reported that they paid out employees with bonuses and things of that nature based on the Metacritic data. Companies need to STOP DOING THIS. This isn’t the first example of companies paying out based on Metacritic data and it probably won’t be the last…

    While I can hope that SE will return to it’s roots I know that this issue is systematic.

    Consumers like us should stop going (or never go like myself) to Metacritic…
    Publishers should make games pray they sell and pay out salaries based on success of numbers and Square Enix should stick to what it is best known for Traditional JRPGs.

  10. Reviews and review scores. That’s a poopy for different toilet.

    Scores are just for page views, I find, and there’s no getting rid of them from the bigger sites.

  11. @Korusi: Agreed about bonuses being tied to review scores being a bad thing – but then IMO the employees who worked on these games richly deserve their bonuses. I mean, why would anyone give a shit about doing exceptional work if Square Enix said to them : “your bonuses are tied to selling seven million units of Tomb Raider”?

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