BioShock Infinite Sells 3.7 Million Units

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BioShock Infinite Sells 3.7 Million Units

The Art of BioShock Infinite cover

Take-Two Interactive doubled its fourth-quarter revenues thanks to strong BioShock Infinite sales, but it still didn't manage to turn a profit.

Take-Two reported its fourth quarter and full-year financial results today and overall the situation looks pretty good. The publisher once known for living or dying on the fortunes of Grand Theft Auto reported that its revenues for the fourth quarter of FY2013 hit $299.5 million, doubling the $148.1 million earned in the same quarter of FY2012. The big boost was driven primarily by BioShock Infinite, which saw "significantly higher first month sell-through than any other BioShock release" and has sold more than 3.7 million units so far.

The company's full-year totals were up substantially as well, reaching $1.214 billion compared to $825.8 million in the 2012 fiscal year. It wasn't enough to result in a profit but it nonetheless improved Take-Two's financial position considerably; the company reported a loss of $31.2 million for the year, compared to a $107.7 million loss in 2012.

Take-Two credited the boost to solid performances from Borderlands 2, NBA 2K13, Max Payne 3 and XCom: Enemy Unknown, as well as continued sales from older titles Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption. Digital sales for the year were up dramatically as well, growing 148 percent on content for Borderlands 2, NBA 2K13, Civilization V, XCom and the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

"With BioShock Infinite, Borderlands 2, NBA 2K13 and XCOM: Enemy Unknown, our 2K label released four of the past year's most critically acclaimed titles," Take-Two Chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick said in a statement. "With Rockstar Games launching Grand Theft Auto V in September, fiscal 2014 is poised to be one of our best years ever." He said the company expects to be profitable in FY2015 and "for the foreseeable future."

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What, ONLY 3.7 million? Not 5 million?

PFFFFFT. Scrap the franchise and fire the team involved. What a FLOP. That just won't do in today's competitive AAA environment!

Doubled revenue from same quarter last year

Full-year totals up to 1.2 billion

Wasn't enough to result in profit

What in the blue, high-definition fuck is wrong with either the expectations or the costs of this industry?

Edit: Oh, and Infinite has some shitty Tomb Raider kind of numbers. I was under the impression that it succeeded. Next time Levine, if you get a next time with this kind of abysmal performance.

FFS how badly can a run a company? The name is actually fitting since the opening sentence made me do a double take.
At first I thought it said Bioshock Infinite itself didn't turn a profit.

Square Enix would've blamed the game for underperforming and then talked about how much everyone loves Lightning.

Hey, at least they didn't start blaming solid game markets as "underperforming". I think Take-Two is a publisher that takes a lot more risks than the others, so that they too take a some losses isn't much of a surprise. Their situation doesn't look anywhere near as grim as Squeenix's or EA's, so they'll probably be fine.

Probably wouldn't hurt to trim away some needless graphical fidelity fat, though, but as long as what they're doing is (mostly) working, and continue to produce titles that I actually want to play (since they're pretty much the only big publisher that still does that), then who cares.

I think we're seeing the screetching halt of the love train, here.
Take two has had, as the thing above notes, several major successes this year.

I think the publishing model is really dying here.

Today I realized I've been a huge fan of TakeTwo games all along. They've got some skilled developers.

WTF??? This AAA economic model is completely backwards. How can a company have not one, but several oustanding hits under its belt, plus continued earnings from previous games and still not turn a profit?? Seriously, what the heck kind of ultra kool-aid are investors drinking these days to imagine the outlandish sales the industry is simply not able to provide?

3.7 is a brilliant figure for sales and yet Square and EA would simply baw and kill their franchises for having a number like that which makes me sad.

Also I'm amazed I still haven't gotten this game yet but then again the last game I actually bought was Transformers Fall of Cybertron for 360 last summer.

Andy Chalk:
"With Rockstar Games launching Grand Theft Auto V in September, fiscal 2014 is poised to be one of our best years ever."

Not that we'll make any money from it.

What are they doing with that much moolah, having cocaine for every meal off the bellies of gold plated hookers surgically altered to look like Elizabeth!?

It stuns me that a publisher can have such an excellent year with both critical and commercial successes, and yet still not turn a profit. What are they spending their money on? My bet's on too much going into advertisements, but I'd love to see a breakdown of spending records.

On a side note, I never realized how many awesome games were published by Take Two.

"How'd you do this year?"

"Oh, we brought in nearly one-and-a-quarter billion dollars."

"Bummer, man. Better luck next year."

...Pardon me while I bash my head against a wall...

I quite like many of Take-Two's offerings, but criminy, what are they doing with that money that 1.214 billion isn't a profitable year...?

Actually, on second thought, never mind, don't tell me. I'd like not to be angry with at least one major video game company, and if I heard that it was one more corporate structure top-loaded with people making multi-million bonuses while "times are hard" talks excused cutting into the rank and file, I couldn't keep my illusions.

How does a company make over a billion - (B)illion - dollars AND NOT MAKE A PROFIT?! Why is it common that the major players in this industry are saying "we know we did good when our losses are only tens of millions?"

I think we need to look on the bright side. The fact that Take Two's losses are rapidly dropping are a sign that they're recognizing their flaws and taking steps to fix them. It'll take time, but eventually they'll disappear completely.

I think the question needs to be asked 'why are they spending so much money?' Likely, they're investing lots on the development of GTAV.

lancar:
Hey, at least they didn't start blaming solid game markets as "underperforming". I think Take-Two is a publisher that takes a lot more risks than the others, so that they too take a some losses isn't much of a surprise. Their situation doesn't look anywhere near as grim as Squeenix's or EA's, so they'll probably be fine.

Probably wouldn't hurt to trim away some needless graphical fidelity fat, though, but as long as what they're doing is (mostly) working, and continue to produce titles that I actually want to play (since they're pretty much the only big publisher that still does that), then who cares.

Lets be honest here, most of the costs would be GTAV, which when released in Sep will make that money back and then some, Take Two isn't concerned at all for a reason :-)

Callate:
"How'd you do this year?"

"Oh, we brought in nearly one-and-a-quarter billion dollars."

"Bummer, man. Better luck next year."

...Pardon me while I bash my head against a wall...

I quite like many of Take-Two's offerings, but criminy, what are they doing with that money that 1.214 billion isn't a profitable year...?

Actually, on second thought, never mind, don't tell me. I'd like not to be angry with at least one major video game company, and if I heard that it was one more corporate structure top-loaded with people making multi-million bonuses while "times are hard" talks excused cutting into the rank and file, I couldn't keep my illusions.

It's not unusual for profits - loss vary with companies, especially with a major project so close to release you can tell where most of it is going and it'll be made back. As I said above, there's a reason the management was so positive about the numbers.

I've been a big fan of Take Two's recent titles, so it's a massive shame they aren't even turning a profit. I mean, losing $31 Million is insane even if it is an improvement.

Props to them for being the only major publisher not churning out repetitive crap, and allowing their developers to flourish.

lancar:
Hey, at least they didn't start blaming solid game markets as "underperforming". I think Take-Two is a publisher that takes a lot more risks than the others, so that they too take a some losses isn't much of a surprise. Their situation doesn't look anywhere near as grim as Squeenix's or EA's, so they'll probably be fine.

Probably wouldn't hurt to trim away some needless graphical fidelity fat, though, but as long as what they're doing is (mostly) working, and continue to produce titles that I actually want to play (since they're pretty much the only big publisher that still does that), then who cares.

bioshock infinite wasnt that graphical tho. Its recommended was a gtx 560 in a market where the 660ti is only 300. You probably have a point but in the case of bioshock I wonder just how much trimming there was left to do.

I love what they did tho thing performed great on my 600 dollar hp with ati 3700 integrated graphics(ie integrated graphics = shit)

Just remember that this is for the entire year, and that there wasn't really any sort of tent-pole games bringing in money in the first half of the year. They lost 204 million between Q1 and Q2, mainly cause all they had to rely on was catalog sales, the unfortunately lackluster Max Payne, and Spec Ops: The Game That Only Reviewers Could Love . This year they have the afterglow of a half dozen solid hits (plus more if they can get some good DLC out for their non-Borderlands titles) to tide them over until GTA in the fall.

I know that Game Dev Tycoon is not actually an authority in sales, it doesn't cover publishers, etc, but it DOES give some real ballpark measurements.

With that, HOW IS $1.214 BILLION NOT ENOUGH?

People keep saying that a video game crash isn't going to happen, but with numbers like that, I don't see why not...

lancar:
Their situation doesn't look anywhere near as grim as Squeenix's or EA's, so they'll probably be fine.

Actually, EA made a profit in FY12 of about $76 million! Square Enix only managed 127 million (roughly $1.2 million) but it's still a profit.

Which is all a bit depressing. :/

I can't help but think, the trouble with not making profit is in some CEO or a whole room of people who receive millions for "being boss" (add a few of those and you basically have your profit right there), those kind of people infiltrated other industries, so why not this.
I won't go so far to think they also probably know little about running a business (in a game industry), but that's the case quite often as well probably.

DrunkOnEstus:

Doubled revenue from same quarter last year

Full-year totals up to 1.2 billion

Wasn't enough to result in profit

What in the blue, high-definition fuck is wrong with either the expectations or the costs of this industry?

Edit: Oh, and Infinite has some shitty Tomb Raider kind of numbers. I was under the impression that it succeeded. Next time Levine, if you get a next time with this kind of abysmal performance.

Its called the economics. In case you haven't noticed we are in the worst recession in 80 years. Southern Europe has unemployment rates of around 50% of the under 25s and and over 25% overall. Thats is a significant chunk of the market where people just simply can't afford games anymore. The French and even the Dutch economy is on the verge of being dragged into the same state as the south of the eurozone. Outside of the eurozone real incomes have been squeezed by inflation since 2008 and less disposable income means less games sold.

The decisions to start on the current crop of AAA games would have been taken back in 2010 when the market was still buoyant and economic projections indicated moderate growth, so it was not an unreasonable assumption that sales growth would continue. The problem lies in that the economic projections were based on the assumption that the Eurozone's problems would be solved, however that is something that Eurozone leaders have singularly failed to do. A major part of the world economy has still not tackled the problems facing it and the consequent lack of demand is imposing drag on the rest of the world economy. In short games sales figures will continue to drop until the Eurozone is fixed and that is way beyond the remit of games companies.

I'm in the "how the fuck is 1.2 billion dollars not making a profit?" boat.

I mean... I. That's a lot of money. Do the Take Two CEOs all have 50-story mansions or something? What can a company do to make it so a billion dollars won't turn a profit?

rbstewart7263:

lancar:
Hey, at least they didn't start blaming solid game markets as "underperforming". I think Take-Two is a publisher that takes a lot more risks than the others, so that they too take a some losses isn't much of a surprise. Their situation doesn't look anywhere near as grim as Squeenix's or EA's, so they'll probably be fine.

Probably wouldn't hurt to trim away some needless graphical fidelity fat, though, but as long as what they're doing is (mostly) working, and continue to produce titles that I actually want to play (since they're pretty much the only big publisher that still does that), then who cares.

bioshock infinite wasnt that graphical tho. Its recommended was a gtx 560 in a market where the 660ti is only 300. You probably have a point but in the case of bioshock I wonder just how much trimming there was left to do.

I love what they did tho thing performed great on my 600 dollar hp with ati 3700 integrated graphics(ie integrated graphics = shit)

Be that as it may, I was thinking in general terms where the industry as a whole is still in the mindset that graphics must be brilliant or games will not sell. In that respect Take-Two may be less guilty than the rest of them, but it's still a factor.

MetalMagpie:

lancar:
Their situation doesn't look anywhere near as grim as Squeenix's or EA's, so they'll probably be fine.

Actually, EA made a profit in FY12 of about $76 million! Square Enix only managed 127 million (roughly $1.2 million) but it's still a profit.

Which is all a bit depressing. :/

I'm thinking that EA's (and Squeenix's) shareholders probably expected a much, much larger profit than that, and thus put more pressure on them as a result, whereas Take-two's shareholders might have more confidence in the company and so don't start yelling like small children as soon as the money flow stops.

albino boo:
Its called the economics. In case you haven't noticed we are in the worst recession in 80 years. Southern Europe has unemployment rates of around 50% of the under 25s and and over 25% overall. Thats is a significant chunk of the market where people just simply can't afford games anymore. The French and even the Dutch economy is on the verge of being dragged into the same state as the south of the eurozone. Outside of the eurozone real incomes have been squeezed by inflation since 2008 and less disposable income means less games sold.

The decisions to start on the current crop of AAA games would have been taken back in 2010 when the market was still buoyant and economic projections indicated moderate growth, so it was not an unreasonable assumption that sales growth would continue. The problem lies in that the economic projections were based on the assumption that the Eurozone's problems would be solved, however that is something that Eurozone leaders have singularly failed to do. A major part of the world economy has still not tackled the problems facing it and the consequent lack of demand is imposing drag on the rest of the world economy. In short games sales figures will continue to drop until the Eurozone is fixed and that is way beyond the remit of games companies.

I'm fully aware of all of that, but you've only proven my point (I was being facetious). Despite everything you just said, 3.7 million people were still able to come up with the disposable income to purchase this game. Based on everything we've learned until recently, that should be a very high number that causes the champagne to come out. What I was getting at was the issue with that number being low despite all factors or context, and 1.2 billion being a number where you aren't turning a profit. My only guess is that Levine asks for crazy Bioshock money, and Houser asks for insane GTA money, to the point where our normal standards of success are greatly skewed. Things should be going great for them considering the economic situation.

And if the economy is hurting them that badly despite all that, the teams really don't need to do all their assets from scratch, write an in-house lighting engine from scratch, or pay Hollywood voice actors. That's not the kind of shit that makes games memorable, and I imagine the sales would be damn near the same if that were the case.

What the hell are they doing when that's not enough to turn a profit? I know that EA and Square-Enix spend too much on advertising and DLC, plus EA makes shitty games. But what the fuck did Take-Two do?

DrunkOnEstus:

albino boo:
Its called the economics. In case you haven't noticed we are in the worst recession in 80 years. Southern Europe has unemployment rates of around 50% of the under 25s and and over 25% overall. Thats is a significant chunk of the market where people just simply can't afford games anymore. The French and even the Dutch economy is on the verge of being dragged into the same state as the south of the eurozone. Outside of the eurozone real incomes have been squeezed by inflation since 2008 and less disposable income means less games sold.

The decisions to start on the current crop of AAA games would have been taken back in 2010 when the market was still buoyant and economic projections indicated moderate growth, so it was not an unreasonable assumption that sales growth would continue. The problem lies in that the economic projections were based on the assumption that the Eurozone's problems would be solved, however that is something that Eurozone leaders have singularly failed to do. A major part of the world economy has still not tackled the problems facing it and the consequent lack of demand is imposing drag on the rest of the world economy. In short games sales figures will continue to drop until the Eurozone is fixed and that is way beyond the remit of games companies.

I'm fully aware of all of that, but you've only proven my point (I was being facetious). Despite everything you just said, 3.7 million people were still able to come up with the disposable income to purchase this game. Based on everything we've learned until recently, that should be a very high number that causes the champagne to come out. What I was getting at was the issue with that number being low despite all factors or context, and 1.2 billion being a number where you aren't turning a profit. My only guess is that Levine asks for crazy Bioshock money, and Houser asks for insane GTA money, to the point where our normal standards of success are greatly skewed. Things should be going great for them considering the economic situation.

And if the economy is hurting them that badly despite all that, the teams really don't need to do all their assets from scratch, write an in-house lighting engine from scratch, or pay Hollywood voice actors. That's not the kind of shit that makes games memorable, and I imagine the sales would be damn near the same if that were the case.

You forget that between 2008-2012 sales actually grew and despite the poor economic outlook bioshock infinite still sold more than the last, just not as much predicted. Part of the problem with the games industry has is the price point of AAA games has remained constant over the last 20 years, so just to stand still you need increase sales because of inflation. The margins have been further eroded by increases in VAT in large parts of Europe making the need for sales growth greater than predicted. This is problem that cuts across industries and is not exclusive to games and the market reacted by to the news by the grand fall $0.049 of a dollar in 2k's share price and the share price is up on the year. In other words the market thinks they have done better than last year.

I like how people are still disagreeing with me that the industry is in trouble, even with stories like these becoming nearly weekly occurrences.

Games now cost too much to make. It costs a million dollars to make one street fighter character; a job one person could do,(theoretically) on their home computer, but a job we instead give to a small army. This industry is nothing but excess and bloat now, it cannot support it's own weight. Developers and publishers will feel an even bigger pinch next year with the new generation, when we are putting triple the production costs into games and getting EVEN LESS return. Then many more familiar faces will vanish from gaming forever; taking many of their IP's with them.

All because most people still think polygon count, movie-esque set pieces and Hollywood voice acting is somehow important to playing controllable pixels.

xPixelatedx:
... when we are putting triple the production costs into games and getting EVEN LESS return. Then many more familiar faces vanish from gaming forever; taking many of their IP's with them.

All because most people still think polygon count, movie-esque set pieces....

The hope with the migration to x64 architecture is that we will not see it happening to such an extent because it's easier to program for than say the Cell architecture (PS3).
Edit: Also ports between platforms will be easier to do.

Boris Goodenough:

The hope with the migration to x86 architecture is that we will not see it happening to such an extent because it's easier to program for than say the Cell architecture (PS3).
Edit: Also ports between platforms will be easier to do.

That's an interesting thing to consider, but I would be surprised if it actually made a difference. Making things cross-platform and developing for cell is costly, but I don't think that is where all the cost is going... Not even by a long shot. For example, exclusives for all consoles still cost small fortunes and require small armies to make. With so many 'casuals' leaving on all fronts, games just won't be able to make the return they once did. If you are making games and using blockbuster movie resources and budgets, you have to get blockbuster movie profits in return to sustain yourself.

xPixelatedx:

That's an interesting thing to consider, but I would be surprised if it actually made a difference. Making things cross-platform and developing for cell is costly, but I don't think that is where all the cost is going... Not even by a long shot. For example, exclusives for all consoles still cost small fortunes and require small armies to make. With so many 'casuals' leaving on all fronts, games just won't be able to make the return they once did. If you are making games and using blockbuster movie resources and budgets, you have to get blockbuster movie profits in return to sustain yourself.

I guess I agree, what I said was just meant as in doing the same things will not take as long to do.
I am sure there will be great many other excuses.

Handhelds and indie games are the future because triple-A publishers are killing themselves with this graphical arms race and movie-like advertisement budgets. I wonder how much did Shin Megami Tensei IV cost to make compared to a Lara Croft?

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