Realtime CEO Blames Used Games for Flat Crackdown Sales

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Realtime CEO Blames Used Games for Flat Crackdown Sales

image

Realtime Worlds CEO David Jones blames used game sales for the fact that Crackdown, the 2007 action game for the Xbox 360, sold only 1.5 million copies.

1.5 million copies sounds like a lot but apparently the million-sold mark is no longer the sign of success it once was. Jones said the game was only a break-even proposition for Realtime Worlds and that its less-than-stellar performance was the result of numerous factors, foremost among them being used videogame sales.

"With Crackdown we sold about 1.5 million copies, but even at that we pretty much only managed to break even," he told Gamasutra. "It was due to the amount of factors that were out of our control as the developer, influences such as GameStop's amazing used-game sales; we know 1.5 million new copies were sold, but it's likely there were 2.5, three million sold when you include used."

He admitted that the "problem" with used game sales was one of the factors behind the decision to make Realtime's current project APB an online-only game, although he added that it would also allow the company to create a more immersive, believable environment. "Typically when you build a 'living city' they're a facade; you turn a corner and the cars behind stop existing," he said. "But APB is to feature a real persistent world, as on a server we can offer that. In the world, there's a tremendous amount of life."

I'd like to know where Jones came up with the three million sales figure for Crackdown, particularly since the way he phrases his complaint makes it sound like a bit of a guess. It's a huge leap to say the used games market claimed half your sales, although as Joystiq notes, Microsoft's decision to include a Halo 3 beta invitation with the game undoubtedly distorted the picture. But if gamers who weren't otherwise interested in Crackdown bought it just to get into the Halo beta - which is certainly a safe assumption - and then immediately traded it back, would it not be fair to say that GameStop's trade-in policy, which encourages that sort of thing, actually gave Realtime a piece of the pie it otherwise would not have had?

Permalink

This is like George Foreman getting upset because people resell his grills at yard sales...

Yeah... saying the used games market hurts game sales is ridiculous. No other industry complains so much about the secondhand market. Used games get more people to buy, which can lead to more word-of-mouth marketing and more new game sales. They also have a positive effect on new game sales for customers who see them as a safety net from buying terrible products, since the games industry doesn't let you get a refund if what you get isn't what you wanted, or is unplayable due to bugs.

Complaining that the secondhand market is stealing your sales is a cop-out... and for the most part that applies to complaining about piracy, too. Basically just a way of ignoring the fact that you made a mistake when you guesstimated your budget based on the market for your game.

lets not forget about all the people who rented Crackdown for the Halo 3 beta, like all my friends

know if made it only for PC not get problem of the second hand market as can't resell them ....oh wait then just blame the pirates how silly of me. Really wish stop reporting on CEO's whining that we have consumer rights (albeit fewer compared to other products but still have some.)

While either trading in or buying used, it's the gameslop customers who really get ripped off.

Or people simply didn't buy the game, like me.

Another video game CEO whines. What else is new?

Seriously, they've been doing this a lot lately. Is there some bug going around or something?

I doubt that used games are hurting the gaming industry. I bought Crackdown used, even without the multiplayer beta for Halo 3. It was a fun game; how can someone complain about used games when all they really do is expand one's audience.

I have a hard time believing the majority of the issue was 'used games' as well. Following that logic, then many other titles would have suffered the same fate. If anything, with the inclusion of the Halo beta invitation, this shoudl have helped Crackdown numbers immensly (as was already pointed out).

No, sadly, I think the issue with Crackdown lackluster numbers (and I love Crackdown myself and so looking forward to the sequel) was just a marketing failure. The title 'Crackdown' didn't give players a great idea what the game was about at first glance, and the lack of support from strong promos in magazine, e-zines, X-Play, etc...I can't even remember a commercial for it, just ads of a guy holding a car over his head in my comic books and still not realizing what it was, until I got it.

No, it was just failure of word of mouth and a strong campaign at launch, not used games.

This game was a marketing disaster. I like to consider myself pretty up to date with the gaming scene, but I had never even heard of this game until egoraptor did a parody of it.

To be fair, my copy of Crackdown is a used one.

I loved Crackdown. Given I have the gamefly. I WUV GAMEFLY!!!!!!!!!!

I call "BS" to an extent.

For starters it seems most people crying about this seem to think that if it wasn't for used game sales, they would have maintained just as much of an audience and sold their games for two or three times as much with the main producer reaping all of the profits. This is NOT true.

Secondly, I feel one of the things that is destroying the economy is the idea that if a company/product is not growing at a certain rate it is a failure. If you project X amount of profits, and make a profit but it's less than projected that is considered to be the same as losing money and oftentimes presented that way.

Sometimes it seems to come down to people spending money they don't have. Someone makes a project they project to make X amount of money, spend money/take credit like they already have that money, and then go "Oh Noes, loss" when the product doesn't reap the profits they expected.

Let me be honest, I played Crackdown. It's a good game. But other than the way they handled powers and such there was little original about it. It was using a Grand Theft Auto sandbox, with far less in the way of overall content (like huge playlists of liscenced music, and a lot of the side activities). It's very much one of those "bare bones" projects where other than running around causing havoc, or following the story missions, you pretty much have some bare bones races and collectible hunting and that's it.

There is no reason why this game should have been a "failure" as a million seller unless they projected far greater profits (did they pay for the right to include a certain demo thinking it would boost sales? How much did that cost. What's more did they really expect that people weren't going to buy the game just for the demo and dump it on the used market before it became known that the game was good...).

Well of course they might have had a much greater development budget than they used, converting the rest into hookers and jumbo buckets of cocaine during the development time, expecting the game to recoup the entire amount.

All snide comments aside though, I personally suspect there isn't any logic behind it at all. I think Crackdown achieved a fan following, and demands for a sequel they never expected, and now the devs need to justify later desicians retroactively. It "not making a profit" sounds better than "we just didn't want to make one, now go away kid you bother me".

Yeah I have used copy of Crackdown, but I got that for eight freaking dollars off of Ebay, and even if I did want to pay more for a new version, I could only find used ones in the game stores. They should've released a new version with the DLC included, like GoW 2 did, then I probably would've bought it instead of used.

Malygris:
But if gamers who weren't otherwise interested in Crackdown bought it just to get into the Halo beta - which is certainly a safe assumption - and then immediately traded it back, would it not be fair to say that GameStop's trade-in policy, which encourages that sort of thing, actually gave Realtime a piece of the pie it otherwise would not have had?

Pretty much my thoughts exactly.

Make a better IP next time, and you build good faith with consumers. Don't bitch about sales instead.

L.B. Jeffries:
To be fair, my copy of Crackdown is a used one.

I wonder if it's the one I sold back.

Nimbus:
This game was a marketing disaster. I like to consider myself pretty up to date with the gaming scene, but I had never even heard of this game until egoraptor did a parody of it.

I occasionally hear gaming news as well, and I barely heard of Crackdown other then that it existed until well after it was released. I still haven't played it, although I've heard good things.

Same problem as Dead Space, half the sales total they expected, not only did they shoot themselves in the foot by sticking to one platform, they forgot to count the thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of copies of the game that are just rentals, making money for the store and not the developer or publisher.

why people can't accept that products will be resold then they should not be in such an industry.

I mean, come on, people resell cars, houses, furniture, electronics and films all the time, yet I've only heard whining from this industry. The sooner developers and publishers accept this as an enevitability, and not just an obstacle, the better.

Sigh...

Idiocy runs deep in certain parts of the industry...

If 1.5 million copies is not enough to make a profit, then maybe you should take a long hard look at your project development budget...

How much more than that can you realistically expect anyway?

Let's not forget that at a typical new-release price, this is easily $105,000,000 - Even assuming you got a really bad deal from your publisher, that means the developer should have made $10.5 million.

If $10.5 million is break-even, you've got serious issues.
The games industry isn't the movie industry. And even there, a huge proportion of films are made at a loss, though a reasonable portion make the money back on DVD/video sales.

Does it honestly not bother anyone in the industry that budgets for games between 1994 and now seem to have gone from $350,000 to $10,000,000?

That's an increase in budget by a factor of about 28.
And no, the amount of people playing games has not increased by that amount. You're lucky if it's grown at all.
I doubt it's even grown 5 times. (the Wii notwithstanding), and yet people wonder why they can't make money with it anymore...

Kross:
I occasionally hear gaming news as well, and I barely heard of Crackdown other then that it existed until well after it was released. I still haven't played it, although I've heard good things.

Yes there are good things to say about it but it's not really a good investment in the long term. Maybe XBL added to it but I'm not shelling out extra money to play online.

Kross buy Crackdown used to piss off the CEO.

Malygris:

I'd like to know where Jones came up with the three million sales figure for Crackdown, particularly since the way he phrases his complaint makes it sound like a bit of a guess...

Would be interesting if there was a reliable source out there listing the "accurate" success of video games. Tracking such things as "total sales", "used games", "percent of profits actually going to developers", "game budget", "pirating"...

Get to work Escapist! It would be difficult but such data would probably bring in a lot of internet traffic!

Well fancy that.
That's just silly. He should blam stuff on other people

Seriously though, if you're only breaking even from sales of 1.5 million then you need to stop blaming other factors and look at what you're doing with your development.

i think it's kinda pointless for them to whine like they do. i'm going to blame bad marketing and such for the game, probly wasn't a top tier game so it didn't get a big push. so we could almost blame m$ or the company distributing it rather than used games

I don't like this whole... "1.5 million was only enough to break even" kind of thing. This industry is far too dangerous to work in.

I... bought Crackdown used... >_>

ElArabDeMagnifico:
I don't like this whole... "1.5 million was only enough to break even" kind of thing. This industry is far too dangerous to work in.

No kidding. I mean, are companies only safe when they sell 100 million copies nowadays?

This is almost as stupid as Silicon Knights' President, Denis Dyack, complaining that people only said Too Human was a bad game because it's gameplay was terrible.

If you don't want secondhand sales eating into your profits, make a game that is good enough so people don't want to get rid of it.

He would've broke more than even if he wasn't using hundred dollar bills as toilet paper.

I say he's being greedy.

Instead of creating a game no one would ever want to sell to a used game store, it's easier to complain about the store buying thier garbage instead. Logic wins again.

And if the game is not garbage, then it's has to be a marketing error. Can't always rely on only word of mouth to sell a game. Didn't work with Beyond Good and Evil, didn't work with ICO, not going to work now. If you're so proud of your product, make sure and let us (the buyers) know. Otherwise we'll just assume it's some thrown together garbage, looking for a buck.

If there were no used game sales it is highly unlikely Realtime Worlds would have seen much (if any) sales increase. People who bought the game on the cheap more than likely would not have decided to pay full price for a game they didn't want that much.

Arguably, no used game sales could possibly have hurt RW, as the people who bought it for the Halo 3 beta might not have bothered if they couldn't just trade it back...

HardRockSamurai:

I doubt that used games are hurting the gaming industry. I bought Crackdown used, even without the multiplayer beta for Halo 3. It was a fun game; how can someone complain about used games when all they really do is expand one's audience.

It seems that the same arguments for used sales are used for validating piracy.

Ie: Expands audience, people who bought the used game/pirated the game wouldn't have bought it anyway. Im just wondering, why is it that piracy is looked down upon on this forum but used games get all the praise?

Markness:

HardRockSamurai:

I doubt that used games are hurting the gaming industry. I bought Crackdown used, even without the multiplayer beta for Halo 3. It was a fun game; how can someone complain about used games when all they really do is expand one's audience.

It seems that the same arguments for used sales are used for validating piracy.

Ie: Expands audience, people who bought the used game/pirated the game wouldn't have bought it anyway. Im just wondering, why is it that piracy is looked down upon on this forum but used games get all the praise?

I think it speaks volumes about the quality of a game and beyond that it has something to do with economics. The large amounts of used game sales would indicate that a very large cross section of potential buyers do not agree with the current retail pricing and are showing it by purchasing games used or only after the retail price has dropped signifcantly.

The other side of this equation is: if the game has people lined up around the block to buy it used why are there so many used copies? Most likely it is either a) the game has only a few hours of gameplay and little replay value, or b) the game sucks but has an awesome advertising campaign.

That being said, if you make a game that is short with little replay value how the hell do you NOT break even after selling 1.5 million copies?

Now that I got that out of the way, the answer to your question about used vs. pirated is buying a used game offers greater percieved value per dollar/euro/WTFever and piracy makes you a criminal.

I admit, i traded crackdown in. But i didn't buy it to go in the Beta, i bought it months afterwards. The reason why i did trade it in is because the game stopped working, outright, every 360 that had the latest update for me. It sucked.... but now it has been replaced with prototype, which fits the void nicely.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here