Contrary to popular opinion, the idea that a game needs to sell over a million copies to be considered successful is “preposterous.”.
Last year saw a number of high-profile games get released without selling the million-plus copies they were originally expected to. Case in point: Enslaved: Odyssey to the West didn’t sell nearly as well as Namco hoped it would and was considered a financial flop by some. However, according to one industry insider, the need for a game to sell a million copies in order to be considered successful is a complete myth.
High Voltage’s chief creative officer Eric Nofsinger recently sat down with Eurogamer to discuss the issue. “That’s a misnomer in our industry,” he explained. “By and large people look at it and they say, if it’s not a million unit seller it’s a flop. That’s preposterous.”
Instead, a game’s success should be determined by the fact that it managed to make a profit:
“If I make this bottle of Coke, and let’s say there’s 10 pence of materials here – coloured water, sugar and a glass bottle – if I sell this for a pound, I’ve just made money.
“Whatever the product is, if it costs you less to make than you end up making off the thing, you make profit. As long as the profit margin is strong enough, then you get enough of a return and you can make another.”
High Voltage is currently working on Conduit 2 for Sega, a sequel that many folks didn’t expect to see because The Conduit didn’t sell in crazy amounts. Nofsinger uses this as a perfect example of how the million-copy myth is untrue: “We’d always like to make money. Everyone would. But if we sold the exact same number of units as we sold with Conduit 1, we’d be high-fiving each other. But I think we’ll do better.”