While we constantly hear that certain AAA games weren't super-profitable at launch, we are finally getting some insight into the play habits and gaming tendencies for some of these games, including fan-favorites such as Sleeping Dogs and Just Cause 2.
In a community blog over on Gamasutra, Square Enix's head of product development and studios across America and Europe, Darrell Gallagher (and probably not related to 7th Heaven's David Gallagher... or at least, we hope not) talked about his experience at Square Enix and dealing with the pressure of maintaining a successful band of intellectual properties.
Previously, many of you may have heard how Square dismissed the success of Tomb Raider since it didn't quite meet their expectations, where Eurogamer reported on Square's disappointment with the initial 3.4 million copies it moved during its first three weeks... the same amount of copies that The Last of Us moved in June. Well, Gallagher makes it known that despite the disappointment from the higher ups at Square Enix's Japanese division, the game still managed to move 4 million copies to date and that's more than enough for them to consider the reboot a success.
More interestingly, though, is that Sleeping Dogs is now turning a profit as well, despite the game flying well under the radar since its launch around this time last year. In fact, its initial launch was also considered a disappointment when it barely moved 200,000 copies right out of the gate.
However, according to Gallagher, Sleeping Dogs has more than double the amount of active users each month over its initial launch numbers, writing...
I look at a game like Sleeping Dogs, with a world-class development team at United Front Games behind it and still see over half a million people continuing to play it every month. It’s a similar story with Just Cause 2, a game which is over 3 years since release and yet still has over half a million active and unique players each month, enjoying the larger than life world of Panau, and we’re looking forward to the launch of the community created multi-player mod later this year.
I was always curious at exactly how many people had picked up a copy of Just Cause 2 in order to get into the multiplayer-beta, and now we know. 500,000 unique active users each month for a game that's already three years old is extremely impressive. Heck, there are some new games that don't get that many active users each month.
Anyway, I like this little part here that Darrell writes about the lifespan of a property and something many gamers and developers are all too familiar with...
Overall as a games business – studios and publishing - we have walked away too early from some of the worlds that we have invested so much time and energy in. If we were to ask people that loved our games whether they would enjoy new content or deeper experiences in these digital playgrounds the answer would overwhelmingly be “yes”.
I couldn't have said it better myself. It also reminds me of when an interesting show airs on a channel like Fox and instead of giving it time to grow and foster an audience, they give it the ax just a few episodes in.
Anyway, you can read up on the entire blog over on Gamasutra.